Wigan chairman Dave Whelan will not stand in the way of manager Roberto Martinez as he seeks to leave the club but has told potential suitors Everton it will cost them £2million in compensation.
The Spaniard is looking to bring an end to a four-year stay at the DW Stadium after telling Whelan, with whom he has a close relationship stemming back to when he signed as a player, he did not feel he could lead the FA Cup winners back to the Premier League after relegation.
By then Whelan had already given Everton permission to speak with Martinez but the Latics owner has no intention of making any deal easy for their former top-flight rivals.
"Everton rang me and I said they have permission to talk to him. I would never stop Roberto talking to football clubs," he told Press Association Sport.
"He's on a three-year contract with 12 months outstanding so I would expect they have got to pay the £2million on that which is outstanding.
"We will let him go but if he moves, someone will have to buy him out of his final year.
"Everton are a nice club and have a great chairman in Bill (Kenwright) and he is an honest man.
"Roberto wants to move on and I have got to accept it.
"He does not feel he is up to the task of getting us back into the Premier League.
"Football is football and I understand where he is coming from.
"We are still friends, we will always be good friends and he will always be a friend of Wigan Athletic."
The Latics issued a statement yesterday forlornly stating that Martinez remained their manager but an approach had been made for his services.
"Wigan Athletic can confirm that following an approach made by another football club, permission has been given to Roberto Martinez to discuss a vacant managerial position," it read.
"After discussions between Roberto and chairman Dave Whelan, it was reluctantly agreed that Roberto, who remains the manager of Wigan Athletic, would be allowed to speak another club.
"There is no further comment to be made at this point."
While disappointed, Whelan admits Martinez gave him some of his best moments as club chairman.
"It is remarkable what he has done for Wigan," added Whelan.
"He kept us in the Premier League up to this season and won the FA Cup - what more could he do?
"We have had great success together and we will always be friends for life - I have great respect for him."
The task is now to find the right candidate to guide Wigan back to the Premier League, which many believe will be a difficult job in itself.
Whelan insists he does not have anyone in mind and encouraged interested parties to get in touch.
"I'm looking for applications for our (new) manager," he said.