ROBERTO Martinez looks favourite to land the vacant Everton job after declaring his intention to leave Wigan Athletic.
The Spaniard leaves the DW Stadium after four years in charge, stating that he does not believe he is the man to guide the club back to the top flight.
It is now widely expected Martinez will follow in David Moyes’ footsteps at Goodison Park - Everton made an initial approach for him last week.
If this does happen, though, Wigan would be due compensation.
Whelan said: “Everton asked for permission to speak to Roberto last Thursday.
“Roberto still has 12 months remaining on his contract, and that will need buying out.
“He feels it’s in the best interests of both himself and Wigan Athletic.
“He doesn’t feel he has the confidence to take us back into the Premier League, he feels it would be much better for a new man to come in and take over.
“I don’t think it was in anyone’s interests to try to talk him out of it.
“I respect what he had to say and I fully understand where he was coming from.”
Despite winning Wigan Athletic’s first ever piece of major silverware last season in the FA Cup, Martinez’s side was also relegated from the Premier League after eight years.
The search is now on for a new manager with Whelan wanting to appoint someone within the next fornight.
“I’m open to applications,” added Whelan. “I hope to make an appointment in 7-10 days.
“I hope to get the right man. I’ve been mostly right over the years and hopefully that will be the case again.
“I’m really, really sorry to be losing Roberto. But I understand his decision.
“He loves Wigan Athletic but he thinks it’s for the best. I respect him for that.”