Roberto Martinez has been granted permission to hold talks with Aston Villa for their vacant managerial position.
Steve McClaren had been the frontrunner for the role, but Villa’s attention has now turned to the manager who succeeded in keeping Wigan Athletic in the Premiership last month.
“Aston Villa have acted above board and in a totally professional manner,” said Wigan chairman Dave Whelan. “They wrote to me asking for permission to speak to Roberto. He was on holiday at the time and I granted Villa permission. He arrived back yesterday and I presume he has spoken to Villa.”
Whelan added that he is confident that Martinez would remain at the DW Stadium and that his contract, which currently runs for another twelve months, would be extended.
“I have never let him down on anything and he has never let me down,” he said. "I know I can never say never in football, but I would be very surprised if he is Aston Villa’s new manager.”
Bolton’s Owen Coyle is also on Villa’s shortlist to replace Gerard Houllier should Martinez decline.