Roberto Martinez has been given the green light to open talks with Everton after having his request to vacate the Wigan Athletic hot-seat granted by chairman Dave Whelan.
The Spaniard led the Latics to a shock victory over Manchester City in this season's FA Cup final, but the club were then relegated from the Premier League.
"He wanted permission to move, so I've given that," Whelan told BBC Sport. "He has 12 months left on his contract, so whoever comes in for him must pay the remainder of his contract.
"He feels he's not the man to lead us into the Premier League. I've got to accept what he feels. He loves Wigan and the fans. We have to move on now and want applications for the job."
Martinez has been strongly linked with the vacancy at Everton created by David Moyes' appointment as Manchester United manager, and Whelan revealed that he has authorised the Merseyside club to make an approach. "Everton rang me and I said they have permission to talk to him," Whelan said.
Martinez, 39, spent six years at Wigan as a player and returned to the club as manager in 2009 after a two-year spell with Swansea City. He steered the club to safety in his first three seasons at the DW Stadium, but they finally succumbed to relegation after a 4-1 loss at Arsenal earlier this month.
That defeat came just three days after a stoppage-time goal from Ben Watson had given Wigan a 1-0 victory over Manchester City in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium, which secured the club's first major trophy.
Under Martinez, Wigan garnered plaudits for the attractive quality of their football and became renowned for pulling off last-ditch escapes from relegation. They survived the drop on the last day of the season in 2011 and repeated the feat a year later after a remarkable run of seven wins in their last nine games.
Caldwell plea in vain
Earlier on Tuesday, Wigan captain Gary Caldwell had expressed hope that Martinez would stay.
"I think every player hopes the manager stays," the defender told Sky Sports News. "He is someone who has come to the club and stamped his authority on how he wants to play. Every player enjoys that and I think we have had great success with that."