The Wigan Athletic boss had preliminary talks in Liverpool on Sunday after his main rival to succeed Kenny Dalglish as manager met club's owners in the US
Roberto Martinez continues to lead the race to become Liverpool’s new manager ahead of a second round of talks with the club’s American owners, which are due to take place within the next 48 hours.
Sources have told Goal.com that the Wigan Athletic boss held preliminary discussions with the club, believed to be in Liverpool, on Sunday.
This came after Andre Villas-Boas, the other main candidate to replace Kenny Dalglish, had a meeting with Fenway Sports Group (FSG), the club’s owner, in Boston at the end of last week.
Martinez is now scheduled to hold a more formal round of discussions with Liverpool in the next few days. He is expected to meet with the chairman Tom Werner and Ed Weiss, FSG’s in-house lawyer.
Goal.com understands that Martinez, 38, is the favourite for the vacant position, with Villas-Boas his closest rival for the post.
The Portuguese, who is available after being sacked by Chelsea in March, is believed to have made a favourable impression with FSG when he met them at their Boston base.
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Despite his claim that he is intent on choosing the “right project” before committing himself, Villas-Boas is said to regard the Liverpool job as one of the most attractive in Europe.
Martinez was granted permission by Wigan to speak to Liverpool last Thursday after being sounded out about his interest in the post through third parties the previous week.
FSG believe Martinez fits their criteria of being young, dynamic and capable of introducing a footballing ethos which runs through all levels at the club.
Wigan’s spectacular finish to the Premier League campaign, which saw them comfortably avoid relegation by seven points after a series of convincing victories over marquee clubs, has significantly enhanced his reputation, but FSG has also been impressed by his skill in creating attractive teams who are able to punch above their weight.
Despite Liverpool being linked with a string of high profile managers, it is believed that the three main candidates identified by FSG at the start of the process were Martinez, Villas-Boas and Brendan Rodgers.
The Swansea City manager declined Liverpool’s approach after being made aware that he was not the front-runner to succeed Dalglish, who was sacked last Wednesday.
Should Martinez’s imminent talks with Liverpool’s high command proceed smoothly, there is even a possibility he could be offered the job this week.