Roberto Martinez has been given the green light to open talks with Everton after resigning from his role as Wigan Athletic manager, Latics chairman Dave Whelan announced on Tuesday.
The Spaniard led Wigan 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 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.