Villa’s World Cup winning goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has been named FIFA goalkeeper of the year at a prestigious FIFA ceremony in Paris.Embed from Getty Images
WORLD NUMBER 1
Martinez continues to turn heads for a variety of reasons, but achieving continental and global success in winning both the World Cup and Copa America, is nothing short of remarkable.
Despite not hitting the highs of his first season at Villa Park, Martinez is comfortably taking the mantle of Villa’s best goalkeeper of the modern Premier League era. Whilst arguably the competition for this particular feat isn’t exactly plentiful (I’m looking at you Peter Enckelman), the former Arsenal ‘keeper has proven to be a superb signing.
With success comes both increased profile and endless rumour. Whilst the clickbait machines of modern football media work overtime to link the 30-year-old with a summer  move, there is perhaps a sense of building inevitability.
Villa’s road-map of Premier League progression remains arguably in its infancy, with the reset button pressed again this season as Steven Gerrard was ditched in favour of Unai Emery. Emery’s public comments on Martinez have been cool to say the least, but the Spanish manager was also quick to dismiss transfer rumours about the club’s number 1.
The quandary that Villa will likely face is not a new one. Martinez is now a high profile individual within the game, saleable, but who also happens to be a very good goalkeeper. It’s not all bravado and crotch-thrusting.
Times are different too. Whereas in Villa’s wilderness years, the likes of Benteke and Delph were easy targets for vultures picking at the bones of the clubs then demise, our problem is that as we seek to improve, can we retain the figureheads necessary to make real progress and win things?
It’s no different to the Grealish dilemma, where a player must ultimately weigh up their career ambitions and an offer of significant personal wealth. Martinez will presumably find himself in the same dilemma too.
This is not just a test of the player, but also of Villa’s stated ambitions and of these becoming a reality. Has the football club moved forward sufficiently to demonstrate to top players that their appetite for honours can be realistically fulfilled at Villa Park?
For Villa and Martinez it’s a moment of celebration, as excellent club form was what propelled him into the international set-up and the success that followed. From this, Emi hasn’t looked back. We can only hope that this success continues, and includes Aston Villa and our prized goalkeeper with it.Embed from Getty Images