Premier League

DW: Martinez should aim higher

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Wed, 15 May 2013 17:57:00

Birmingham have taken a look at Matt Green on trial but Mansfield Town are hopeful that he will stay at Field Mill.

Blues boss Lee Clark is keen to bolster his attacking options this summer and has identified Green as somebody he wants to look at more closely.

The 26-year-old has scored 57 goals in the past two seasons and has helped the Stags clinch promotion back to the Premier League, so Mansfield boss Paul Cox is not keen to let him go.

"I am planning for the worst-case scenario," Cox said in the Birmingham Mail.

"He's been on trial at Birmingham for a week or so, but nothing has happened there for him yet so we are still hopeful.

"I would love to work with Matt next season - I love the kid to bits. But he has a family to look after and I am sure he will give his decision a lot of thought.

"If he does go to a bigger club, we are pleased we have had a say in it."

Balotelli, who was signed by Mancini for City before being sold to AC Milan in January, insisted his fellow Italian is a "great manager".

Mancini was sacked by City on Monday after his team failed to meet targets laid down by the owners and is expected to be succeeded by Manuel Pellegrini, currently at Malaga.

Asked about Mancini being sacked, Balotelli told CNN: "I am not really surprised but when I was with him he was a great manager and we had one of the best teams I have played with, the best players.

"I don't know why they didn't win. But obviously there were some problems inside. I am here [Milan] so I don't know."

City said on Monday that Mancini had been sacked after failing to meet all "stated targets" apart from qualifying for next season's Champions League.

The club added: "This, combined with an identified need to develop a holistic approach to all aspects of football at the club, has meant that the decision has been taken to find a new manager for the 2013-14 season and beyond."

Reports in Spain today said Malaga have opened the way for Pellegrini, whose representatives have already held talks with City, to move on at the end of the season.

The Malaga Hoy newspaper said the Qatari-owned Spanish club has waived the release fee in the Chilean's contract which would allow him to leave when it expires on July 1, and that he has already agreed a two-year deal with City.

However the club are unlikely to announce any appointment before next week's short end-of-season tour to the USA where Brian Kidd will remain in charge of the team.

A Malaga spokesman told the BBC no announcement would be made until the club's domestic season was concluded.

He said: "There remain some fixtures to qualify for the Europa League, so in this moment, officially, we are not saying anything.

"The club has not communicated anything about this. I am not saying [the article] is true or false, I am just saying that the club officially has not said anything.

"I think that other clubs, Manchester City or whatever other club, have finished their season but Malaga has not finished their season."

Meanwhile, it is understood City are continuing to monitor Napoli's striker Edinson Cavani despite the Uruguayan being linked with both Paris St Germain and Chelsea.

Cavani will not come cheap - a fee of 50million euros (?42million) is needed to trigger the release clause in his contract with the Serie A club.

The Latics were relegated to the power Championship last night following a 4-1 defeat to Arsenal which further increased speculation that Martinez is set to leave the DW Stadium.

The 39-year-old was heavily linked with Liverpool last summer and has now emerged as one of the bookmakers' favourites to replace David Moyes at Goodison Park this summer when the Scotsman leaves for Manchester United.

After guiding Athletic to FA Cup success on Saturday, Martinez's stock as never been higher, despite also adding a relegation to his CV, and Whelan believes his manager should be setting his targets higher than the Toffees.

He told Sky Sports News: "Roberto, when he goes to a big club, I was thinking one of the big European clubs or a big English club.

"Everton are a great club by the way and, if he chose to go to Everton, I'm sure the Everton supporters would be delighted."

He added: "I have nothing whatsoever against Everton, I love that club. I love playing against them, I love the supporters, everything about them is top class and if he went to Everton I would wish him the very very best of luck.

"But I just think he will go to a bigger club than Everton, in reality.

"Throughout Europe there are some massive clubs and Roberto being what he is, he is so good.

"Sooner or later, I've always said he will go to a massive European club and he'll do well.

"Whoever he goes to, Roberto is a brilliant, brilliant manager."

Despite the talk of Martinez's bright future on the bigger stage, Whelan insists his exit is not a foregone conclusion this summer.

The Latics have spent the last eight years in the top flight and Whelan remains hopeful that Martinez will be the man to guide them back there next season.

"I will have a meeting with Roberto on Monday next week and, as every year and every week, we sit down and have a meeting," he said.

"We both trust each other implicitly and whatever Roberto says I believe and I know whatever I say to him, he will believe that.

"All we're doing is meeting in the interests of Wigan Athletic because Roberto has been a fantastic manager and I hope that he will continue to be a fantastic manager for Wigan for at least two or three years to come.

"I've always said to Roberto, we're very honest with each other, if you want to leave Wigan and go to a big club, you just say and I will release you immediately."

While Whelan may face a battle to keep hold of his manager, he could have even more trouble keeping hold of his top players.

The likes of Arouna Kone, James McArthur, James McCarthy, Callum McManaman and Shaun Maloney have all caught the eye in a struggling team this season and Whelan will not stand in the way of players who want to leave the club, if the the money is right.

"Some of the players who want to stay in the Premier League will definitely want to move," he said.

"I can't blame them for that because it's such a fantastic place to play.

"And if the players come and say I want to go and we get the right offer, I will not stand in their way.

"Roberto is of the same opinion, we've got to be fair with players and the players have got to be fair with us."

One man who will be staying at the DW Stadium is Whelan himself.

The 76-year-old bought the club in 1995 when they were in the fourth tier and, despite talk that he was considering taking a step back from the club, he is determined to steer them back into the Premier League.

"We're out of the Premier League, my priority is one thing: Get Wigan Athletic back in the Premier League," he said.

"If I was thinking of stepping off a little next year that's been put on ice now, I'm back and I'm back 110 per cent behind Wigan Athletic.

"I've one ambition now left in my life and that is to get Wigan back in the Premier League."

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