Liverpool deny offering manager's job to Roberto Martinez
Roberto Martinez is set for further talks with Liverpool next week, despite claims from Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan that he has already been offered the job.
Liverpool insiders insisted the offer to succeed Kenny Dalglish had not been formally made to the Wigan manager after talks between Martinez and owner John Henry took place in Miami on Thursday.
The 38-year-old Spaniard had interrupted his family holiday in Barbados to meet with Henry and the pair were pictured walking together. Whelan, who has insisted all along his manager will leave with his blessing, however, appears to have jumped the gun when he publicly declared the vacancy had been directly offered to the Martinez.
"He had a very constructive meeting," said Whelan. "They made an offer and he has agreed to consider it.
"I am still not convinced it is a foregone conclusion, because they put their points on the table and Roberto put his. He listened to their points, but I think they also listened to his and I think they are coming to terms with the way English football is run.
"Roberto wants control over football matters and that includes transfers, and if they agree to that, then I can see him becoming the Liverpool manager. If they agree to let Roberto take responsibility for the transfers then I think he will go there and I can see that Liverpool have set their sights on him.
"I think what he has said is, 'thank you for your offer but I only work under the following rules: I have to have complete control of football. That's normally the way in England, that's how we all work'.
"I think they're considering his request and Roberto's considering their offer and they're going to talk again on Tuesday. Hopefully he stays with us but wherever he goes, he's 100 per cent dedicated to that football club. I don't think they realise how hard he works. he is so dedicated to the game of football.
"He is aware that I have said to him I would love to keep him but I need a decision by Wednesday or Thursday and if I have to, I will appoint someone for Wigan Athletic to replace him."
Whelan's suggestion infers Liverpool are still contemplating bringing in a director of football, who would effectively have more power than the manager. This would follow the model they put in place when Dalglish was in charge, where the influential role of director of football was given to Damien Comolli. The Frenchman was the first major figure to leave the Anfield hierarchy when the Fenway Group began their cull in April, as they sought to arrest the club's continued Premier League slide.
Dalglish followed and there has since been a power vacuum at the club, with a list of around 10 names said to have been floated as potential successors to take over as manager.
Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard last night said he would welcome Martinez if he does get the job at Anfield. "I am aware that Roberto Martinez has been speaking to the club," he said. "Everything I've heard about the guy has been good and positive. We'll have to wait and see what the club decide to do. If he is the manager he's certainly got my support."
The Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has reopened the racism row which dogged his season by describing his eight-match ban as strange and insisting his "conscience is clear".
"The suspension, I suppose, you could call strange and unbelievable," he said. "There was not a single convincing proof that I had done any of the things they accused me of doing. I accepted it without saying anything, obviously because they could have made [the suspension] longer and it would have just made the whole thing continue, but my conscience is completely calm, and so is that of the club."