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Despite Relegation, Wigan Optimistic of Keeping Martinez

After eight years in the English Premier League, which included several close calls, Wigan Athletic was finally relegated on Tuesday after losing 4-1 at Arsenal. The defeat, which condemned Wigan to the Championship next season, came just three days after the club lifted the FA Cup, its first-ever major trophy.

Relegation has naturally led to speculation that coach Roberto Martinez, widely regarded as one of the most talented young managers in Europe, will leave the club; he has already been linked to the Everton job, which is vacant now that David Moyes is joining Manchester United this summer.

Nevertheless, Wigan owner Dave Whelan remains optimistic of keeping the talented Spaniard. "I still think there is a big, big chance Roberto will stay at Wigan," he said. "On the first Monday at the end of every season, I have sat down with him and he has put his cards on the table. We have always been honest with each other and the meeting on Monday will be no different. I don't think relegation means he will definitely leave Wigan. He has always been successful here and he knows he has young players coming through who are going to make a big impression on the first team over the next two or three years. That is something he takes pride in and enjoys.

Whelan said he had not resigned himself to losing Martinez. "We will decide on Monday and I’ve always said," he said, "if he decides the time is right for him to go, I will not stand in his way, but nothing will be decided until that meeting."

Read the whole story at Telegraph »

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