Roberto Martinez is the new favourite to become the next Aston Villa manager after being granted permission by current club Wigan to speak to the Midlanders.
Martinez has done a good job at Wigan over the past two seasons, keeping them in the Premier League with minimal resources and he may relish the opportunity to move to a bigger club.
It is 4/5 in the Premier League odds that Martinez is appointed as the successor to Gerard Houllier at Villa, but he faces a big decision based on the loyalty he has been shown by Wigan, particularly in the last 12 months.
Struggling in the relegation places for much of the campaign, it would have been easy for Dave Whelan to replace Martinez, but the Wigan chairman was rewarded for his boldness when the team eventually secured their survival.
Whelan said: “Aston Villa have acted above board and in a totally professional manner. 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. I have made it clear to him I will be extending his contract.
“I have never let him down on anything and he has never let me down. I know I can never say never in football, but I would be very surprised if he is Aston Villa’s new manager.”
A late gamble took shape on Rafa Benitez taking over as Aston Villa manager yesterday, but he has now drifted from 7/4 to 6/1, while an internet-led rebellion from the fans against Steve McClaren has resulted in him being priced at 16/1.
If Martinez does not take over, then it appears that the other leading Aston Villa candidate is Bolton boss Owen Coyle, who is available at 5/1.