Villa have today confirmed the transfer of Arsenal goalkeeper Emi Martinez in a deal valued up to £20m. This comes
Martinez, who broke into The Gunners first team last season following injury to Bernd Leno, impressed as Mikel Arteta’s side won the FA Cup.
In a perhaps surprise move, Arsenal have permitted Villa to secure the Argentine’s signature, having been unable to offer the FA Cup winner guaranteed first team football.
Arsenal’s loss is certainly Dean Smith’s gain, especially with Tom Heaton still without a return date after suffering a season ending ACL injury at Burnley on New Years Day. The vague severity of this injury and absence of a clear timeline for Heaton’s return remains a serious concern.
Martinez will therefore go straight into the first team, jumping the hierarchy ahead of Jed Steer, Orjan Nyland and forgotten man Lovre Kalinic.
Whilst Nyland had shown promise during Villa’s League Cup run, a series of high profile blunders (think Sheffield United and Wolves), see the Norwegian’s future uncertain.
For some, Jed Steer is perhaps the most unfortunate, having shown during Villa’s playoff campaign and when called upon that he is an able ‘keeper. However, with a very patchy injury record and Villa’s aspirations to progress, no chances can be taken.
Martinez joins Villa on a four year deal, that sees a 10 year association with Arsenal draw to a close.
Adam Holt provides the insight into Villa’s newest arrival:
Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez had been extensively linked with a transfer to Villa Park, with the fee rumoured to be around the £20m mark. Is Martinez a good signing for the Villans? Let us start with the Argentine stopper’s career to date…
Career So Far
Emi Martinez began his career in his native Argentina with Independiente and went on to sign for Arsenal in 2010. He would start playing for Arsenal’s youth teams until he signed a professional deal with the Gunners in 2012. Martinez was promptly loaned out to then League Two side Oxford United but could only manage one appearance for the U’s.
Martinez’s subsequent loan spell was with Championship side Sheffield Wednesday for the 2013-14 campaign, in which he made just 11 appearances for the Owls in a campaign where they finished 16th.
The Argentine’s next loan stint was with Rotherham United in 2015, again in the Championship but he didn’t manage many appearances for The Millers, only playing 8 games in the remainder of the 2014-15 campaign.
His next loan spell was in the Midlands, with Wolverhampton Wanderers – who were then a Championship side. Martinez went on to make 13 starts for Wolves, before returning to the Gunners at the end of that campaign.
Upon his return to Arsenal’s first team in the 2016-17 season, the Argentine stopper made five appearances, with one in a Premier League match against West Ham. He was then sent out on loan to Spanish side Getafe for one year, in which he made five appearances in LaLiga.
Martinez’s final loan spell came with Championship side Reading, whom he joined in January 2019. He made his debut against Bolton Wanderers, and even got a man of the match award when appearing against Villa.
A first team breakthrough finally came for Martinez at Arsenal when the number one keeper, Bernd Leno suffered an injury in a match against Brighton, with Martinez coming on to make his first Premier League appearance in three years. The Argentine saw out the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign as Arsenal’s number one, and impressed with a number of great performances and saves, with possibly the pick of the bunch coming against Liverpool.
He also starred in Arsenal’s victory in the FA Cup final against Chelsea and also in the Gunners’s Community Shield victory over Premier League Champions Liverpool, and from the emotional scenes following both of these finals – it clearly meant a lot to Martinez.
How good is Martinez?
From what can be seen in his appearances for Arsenal last season, it appears clear that Martinez is an excellent shot stopper, with an impressive save against Liverpool in particular coming to mind.
He is also brave, coming for balls from forwards who are running into the box, as well as being adept at one-on-ones. Martinez also seems to have razor-sharp reactions, which are obviously a big plus for a ‘keeper, with his handling looking decent as well.
As previously mentioned, this seems to be a promising and progressive signing for Villa.
Overall, I believe that Emiliano Martinez is a great signing for Villa, and his excellent recent performances for the Gunners making this a very promising and exciting signing. The rumoured fee seems reasonable given the quality shown towards the end of the previous season and the Argentine arrives at Villa Park on a quest for guaranteed first team football.