Wigan owner Dave Whelan claims England striker Emile Heskey would be welcome back at the DW Stadium if he was to leave Aston Villa.
Heskey, who left Wigan for Villa in January, has admitted he may need to move on again in order to preserve his place in the England squad for the World Cup.
The 31-year-old former Liverpool, Birmingham and Leicester forward has been unable to command a regular starting place since his £3.5million switch to Villa Park.
Whelan told Sky Sports News: "I have a great deal of sympathy for him - he is one wonderful footballer. When he is on the park you know you are going to get 110% from Emile.
"I absolutely thought he was fantastic for us but he was coming to the end of his contract but he wanted to move on so I honoured that."
Wigan have since changed managers with Roberto Martinez taking over from Steve Bruce but Whelan said: "Everybody in football would like Emile somewhere in their squad. He is that kind of lad.
But I'd be very surprised if Aston Villa sell him and I still think he has got a good future at Villa."