Former Spurs and Ajax manager to replace Mark Hughes at English Premier League side.
|Martinez steered the Lactics to another season in the EPL in a dramatic final day of action [GALLO/GETTY]|
Roberto Martinez has turned down an offer by English Premier League side Aston Villa to remain as manager of Wigan Athletic.
The Spaniard was high on the shortlist of potential candidates to fill the vacant manager’s role at Villa Park after Gerard Houllier quit due to health reasons last month, but the club announced on Friday that that Martinez “has made the decision to honour his commitment to Wigan.”
Wigan, who narrowly avoided relegation on the final day of the season, had granted Martinez permission to speak to Villa, while at the same time offering a pay rise and a contract extension in a bid to keep him at the DW Stadium.
Martinez has a year left on his contract with Wigan, which he has kept in the Premier League despite relegation battles in his two seasons in charge, but is set to sign a new deal.
Martinez is reported to have been offered a double-your-money contract to move to Villa, who finished ninth in the league last season, but instead opted to repay the faith shown in him by Latics owner Dave Whelan, who has signed him both as a player and manager.
“Over the last two years the chairman has been very supportive to me and loyal, and now I feel I need to be loyal and supportive back to him,” Martinez said.
“I haven’t finished my job at Wigan Athletic – there is much work still to be done.
“I don’t know how long that will take but such is the belief that I have always had that I would only ever decide to move once the club is ready for a new manager.”
Wigan owner Whelan expressed delight after Martinez’s decision to stay.
“Roberto’s staying and that’s the great news,” Whelan told British broadcaster Sky Sports on Friday.
“He’s signing a new three-year contract. But to be honest, money is not what this has been about. I’m over the moon.”
|FROM THE BLOGS|
Villa had requested and been granted permission to approach Martinez after he emerged as the front-runner to take over at Villa Park ahead of former England boss Steve McClaren and ex-Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez.
“The club would like to thank Wigan Athletic Football Club and its chairman, Dave Whelan, for their professionalism in dealing with our request to speak to Roberto Martinez,” Villa said.
“Roberto’s qualities as a young and aspirational manager ensured him of a position high on our shortlist of potential new managers.
“We remain focused and are working hard to secure the best candidate for Aston Villa who will complement the club’s commitment to be true to our heritage, competitiveness and passionate fanbase, and will have the new manager in place to prepare the players for the pre-season programme and next season’s campaign.”