Martinez opts to remain at Wigan after Villa approach

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez has chosen to remain at Wigan after Aston Villa made an approach for his services.

Martinez, 37, will sign an improved three-year contract with the Latics instead of the chance to manage Villa.

"Roberto met with his chairman [Dave Whelan] earlier this week and has made the decision to honour his commitment to Wigan," read a Villa statement.

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

Whelan was confident former Swansea manager Martinez would stay at his club, despite giving him the option to hold talks with Villa, and he has been proven right.

Mark Hughes, who was originally ruled out of contention despite being heavily linked with the Villa job, has now been installed as favourite to take over as owner Randy Lerner continues his search for a successor to Gerard Houllier.

Hughes resigned as Fulham manager 24 hours after Houllier left Villa on health grounds, but his agent Kia Joorabchian told the BBC the two events were not connected.

And despite the renewed link with Villa, Hughes may yet emerge as part of Chelsea's management team after the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti, with Guus Hiddink also tipped to return to Stamford Bridge after a successful spell in charge in 2009.

"Money is not what this is about [with Martinez]," said Whelan. "Villa will be disappointed but I am over the moon.

"I am sure every Wigan supporter will say that we are so pleased to have him. He is such a straight guy and so easy to deal with."

He added: "I don't think we were really close to losing him but he has to consider his future. He is going places and Aston Villa are a big club.

"I am delighted he is staying with us. Supporters will look at this and think Roberto is showing that football is not about greed. There's a loyalty in it and he has been loyal."

Martinez, who BBC Sport has learned did speak to Villa to tell them of his decision, joined Wigan from Swansea in 2009, with his first competitive game in charge ironically being a 2-0 away victory over his Midlands suitors.

The Spaniard has managed to keep Wigan in the Premier League in his two seasons in charge, with the club surviving in 2010/11 thanks to a four-game unbeaten run at the end of the campaign.

"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," said Martinez, whose attractive brand of football at both Swansea and the Latics has won him many admirers.

"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."

Martinez's decision will be a blow for Villa as their search for a successor to Gerard Houllier, who left the Midlands outfit earlier this month on health grounds, continues.

"The club would like to thank Wigan and its chairman, Dave Whelan, for their professionalism in dealing with our request to speak to Roberto Martinez," said the Villa statement.

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

"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."

Villa had been linked with interest in appointing Rafael Benitez, Mark Hughes and Steve McClaren before their overtures to lure Martinez.

The trio seemed out of the running but could again come into the fray along with other names, including Bolton boss Owen Coyle.

"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 fan base, and will have the new manager in place to prepare the players for the pre-season programme and next season's campaign," added Villa's statement.