D-day is looming for Martinez

Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez

Wigan Athletic manager Roberto Martinez

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ROBERTO Martinez will jet back into the UK this morning – with three Premier League clubs anxiously waiting to discover his future plans.

The Wigan boss has been away in Barbados with wife Beth for the past week, save for a whistle-stop trip to Miami last Friday to meet with representatives from Liverpool regarding the vacancy at Anfield.

He’s due to meet again with Fenway Sports Group later today after spending the weekend mulling over their initial discussion, and he’ll then meet Dave Whelan to inform him of his thoughts.

Whelan, mindful of the disruptive effect this is having on Wigan’s preparations for next season, would ideally like a decision as early as Thursday.

But the chairman is prepared to give the Spaniard as long as he needs to make up his mind – if it increases the chances of him staying. There is also the presence of Aston Villa in the background to further muddy the waters, and the Midlands club are long-term admirers of Martinez having tried to make him their manager last summer.

However, Villa have yet to approach Whelan for permission to speak to his manager for a second time, and they appear to be third-favourites at this stage.

After being the bookies’ favourite for the Liverpool job for the best part of the last fortnight, Martinez slipped down the market last night with Swansea chief Brendan Rodgers being backed into odds-on favouritism.

Martinez was as long as 9/4 second-favourite to go to Liverpool, while at the same time remaining second-favourite at 11/2 for the Villa job behind Paul Lambert.

It’s thought that the longer Martinez leaves his decision, the more likely he is to remain at Wigan – assuming a few conditions, such as the building of the club’s new training ground and the releasing of a reasonable transfer budget this summer, are met. Martinez admitted earlier this month, prior to the Liverpool speculation, that he would be looking to bring in “four or five” new players before the start of the European Championships at the end of next week.

Clearly those plans have been put on the backburner given recent developments, but Whelan does not feel Latics are falling behind their rivals in terms of recruitment.

“The market is generally quiet at this time of year – there’s plenty of time to get things sorted,” he confirmed.