Roberto Martinez owed it to Whelan to stay at Wigan and reject Villa

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez feels he owed it to the club and chairman Dave Whelan to reject overtures from Aston Villa.

The Spaniard yesterday turned down the chance to succeed Gerard Houllier at Villa Park in a repayment of loyalty to the Latics.

Martinez, who took charge at the DW Stadium two years ago, has now been offered a pay rise and a new three-year contract by Whelan.

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Whelan stood by Martinez when the club flirted with relegation from the Barclays Premier League last season - escaping the drop only on the final day - and the 37-year-old wants to repay that faith.

Martinez said: "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.

"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."

Whelan has already admitted that he expects Martinez to move to a bigger club in future but was always hopeful he could persuade him to stay this time.

The pair have a good relationship dating back to when Martinez first joined Wigan as a player in 1995.

Whelan said: "Roberto is staying, that is the great news. I had a gut feeling that he wanted to stay at Wigan.

"He is signing a new three-year contract today and obviously we have had to give him an increase in basic salary and incentives. But money has not been what this has been about.

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"Villa will be disappointed but I am over the moon and I am sure every Wigan supporter will join me in saying it is fantastic and we're so pleased to have Roberto.

"I don't think we were really close to losing him but he has to consider his future, he is in football.

"He is going places, we all know that. Aston Villa are a bigger club and when you get a club like that wanting your services, it is something to be proud of.

"I would never have blamed him if he'd gone and would have wished him the best of luck."

Martinez has earned a reputation for playing attractive football during his time in charge at Wigan and during his previous, promotion-winning stint with Swansea.

Villa turned their attention to him earlier this week after their interest in former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez and former England manager Steve McClaren cooled.

The Midlands club are now left to look for alternative candidates. Bolton Wanderers' Owen Coyle has previously been linked but Mark Hughes does not appear to be in the running despite his recent sudden resignation at Fulham.A Villa statement read: "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.

"Roberto's qualities as a young and aspirational manager ensured him of a position high on our shortlist of potential new managers.

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"Given that he had one year remaining on his contract at Wigan, we made an official approach through the proper channels, though we were aware of a commitment he had made to his club to agree and sign a new contract following the final game of last season.

"Roberto met with his chairman earlier this week and he has made the decision to honour his commitment to Wigan.

"Therefore, we have not met Roberto and we have not had the opportunity to discuss the vacant managerial role with him.

"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."