DAVE Whelan admits Wigan Athletic are ‘in limbo’ until the future of Roberto Martinez is sorted out.
But the Latics chairman has still not given up hope of his manager staying at the DW Stadium beyond this summer.
After reportedly holding brief talks with the owners of Liverpool, Martinez is currently on holiday in Barbados.
In his absence, he continues to be linked with the managerial vacancies at Anfield and also Aston Villa.
But Whelan is happy to put everything on hold – until the Spaniard has finished his well-deserved holiday.
“Roberto is on holiday in the Caribbean, and he’ll be there until the start of next week,” Whelan told the Evening Post last night.
“I know exactly where he is – I’ve actually just got off the phone to him – and he is a very honest and honourable man.
“Until he gets back at the beginning of next week, it’s all quiet on the western front.
“I appreciate everyone is in limbo at the moment, and there will come a time soon when we’ll need an answer one way or the other.
“It is dragging on a bit, but I only care about one thing – that is the future of Wigan Athletic. Nothing else matters.
“It’s important we sort this out properly, one way or the other, so we can move forward in preparation for the new season.”
Martinez has been the leading candidate for the Liverpool job since Kenny Dalglish was sacked at the beginning of last week.
The 38-year-old has also featured heavily in the betting for the Villa Park hotseat following the departure of Alex McLeish at the end of the season.
However – and despite giving his manager permission to speak to the Reds – Whelan (right) is not prepared to throw in the towel just yet.
“I must stress to our supporters that I am by no means resigned to losing Roberto to Liverpool or any other club,” Whelan added.
“He may go, he may not go.
“That will be up to Roberto and I will respect his decision either way.
“But it is not a foregone conclusion. Not at all.
“You can’t stop managers speaking to other clubs if that is what they want to do.
“It happens in all walks of life, whatever job you are talking about, and it is the right thing to do.
“But hand on heart, I still believe Roberto will be here next season.”
The next few days look to be the calm before the storm, with Martinez having only around a week to sort out his future between his return to the UK and jetting out to the European Championships to work as a pundit for ITV.
“Roberto will be in Barbados until next Tuesday, and I will then set a seven-day deadline by which time I will expect a decision,” Whelan added.
The waters were further muddied late last night when some sections of the Portuguese media claimed Andre Villas-Boas had been offered the Liverpool job.
As a result, Martinez was cut to as low as 11/4, with some firms for the Villa job, replacing Paul Lambert as the front-runner.
Meanwhile, Chris Kirkland has signed a two-year contract with Championship new-boys Sheffield Wednesday after his Wigan contract expired at the end of the season.