Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has given Everton permission to speak to manager Roberto Martinez after the Spaniard asked to leave the club.
At a meeting on Tuesday afternoon Martinez told Whelan he was ending his four-year association with the Latics after they dropped out of the Premier League despite winning the FA Cup.
Whelan will not stand in the way of his manager, who is on a one-year rolling contract, and will demand compensation from whichever club he joins.
Everton, looking to replace David Moyes who has gone to Manchester United, appear to be in pole position after requesting permission to speak to Martinez over the weekend.
"Roberto wants to move on," Whelan said. "We will let him go but he's on a 12-month rolling contract so if he moves someone will have to buy him out of his final year.
"Everton rang me and I said they have permission to talk to him."
Everton have not commented on the development but Martinez is the favourite for the vacancy at Goodison Park.
Martinez, 39, who spent six years as a player with Latics, has been a popular manager in his four years at the helm.
He has had to contend with relegation battles in each season but has regularly earned plaudits for his positive style of play.
The former Swansea manager has been heavily linked with Aston Villa and Liverpool in each of the past two summers.
Wigan survived relegation from the top flight on the last day of the season in 2011 and last year won seven of their last nine games to produce a remarkable escape.
That was a feat that proved beyond them this term but they did claim handsome consolation with their stunning FA Cup final victory over Manchester City.