Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has urged Franco Di Santo to keep his feet on the ground and sign a new deal at the club.
The 23-year-old Di Santo recently earned his first call-up to the Argentina squad and could feature alongside the likes of Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi in an upcoming friendly against Saudi Arabia. The striker's Latics contract expires at the end of the season, but Martinez is sure he can convince Di Santo to stay at the club for the foreseeable future.
“We haven’t even looked into it yet in detail, but both parties know what to do next. I’m pretty confident,” Martinez told reporters. “Franco needs to carry on fulfilling his potential with Wigan. We don’t want this call-up to break his development and all of a sudden put things into people’s heads.
“His next step is to be an important player for Argentina. We’re all looking forward to seeing him achieve that transformation while he is at Wigan. One day I’m sure Franco will be ready to challenge in a team to win the title or win the Champions League, but he’s not there yet. At the moment we’re only talking potential. He has absolutely everything but now is the time he wants to show it consistently. We don’t want to upset his development.”
Wigan paid 4 million pounds for Di Santo after he had struggled to make an impact in England with Chelsea and then Blackburn, a gamble that Martinez believes paid off.
“It’s been an incredible journey for Franco," Martinez said. "He arrived as a 21-year-old after a couple of different roles for two clubs in the Premier League, and now he’s found stability at Wigan. It’s been fascinating to see his transformation from a young boy with great potential to a proper footballer.
“We paid 4 million pounds for Franco when he was 21. In the last year of his time at Blackburn he never played for six months so he was a real investment for us. Only time will tell (how much he is worth now). I told Franco that if he can replicate what he did in the last nine games of last season for the whole 10 months of the season it will be a top value in world football But you can only put a value on a player when you want to sell him, and we don’t want to sell him.”