Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Whelan turns heat up on Martinez

Roberto Martinez

Liverpool managerial front-runner Roberto Martinez is due to have further talks with the Merseyside club's owners on Tuesday, but Wigan chairman Dave Whelan is trying to force the issue by bringing forward the date he wants a decision from his manager.

Last week, Whelan said he would give the Spaniard until June 5 to make up his mind, with the Spaniard returning from his holidays on Tuesday. However, Whelan has now said he wants to know by this Thursday what Martinez's plans are.

"Roberto has told me he is speaking with Liverpool again on Tuesday," Whelan told ESPN. "I have now made it clear that I want this sorted out by Thursday at the latest as we have to get on preparing for next season."

Doubts remain as to whether Martinez wants to work under a sporting director in a new set-up at Anfield, and it had been suggested at the weekend that the 38-year-old would hold a press conference on Tuesday to reveal his plans but the idea that will happen has been dismissed by Wigan.

Whelan, who confirmed Liverpool's approach almost a fortnight ago and then, last Thursday, said Martinez had met with Reds' principal owner John Henry, is keen to push the process along quickly. Fenway Sports Group are not.

That is why Martinez may not be able to meet Whelan's Thursday deadline as Liverpool's American owners are still keen to speak to other potential candidates.

Reports emerged suggesting they were keen to speak to Swansea's Brendan Rodgers despite him turning down their initial approach two weeks ago and it is believed Henry and Liverpool chairman Tom Werner may be travelling to England this week to finalise the selection process.

Swans chairman Huw Jenkins dismissed those claims as "pure speculation" but the club were moved to issue a statement re-iterating their - and Rodgers' - position.

"We would like to clarify the speculation in the press surrounding our manager Brendan Rodgers," it said.

"We would like to confirm that there has been no contact from Liverpool and nothing has changed since our previous statement on the issue."

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