Aston Villa goalkeeping ace Emiliano Martinez has lifted the lid on his initial move to Arsenal, claiming he did not want to join the Gunners.
In an interview with Spanish publication El Pais, Emiliano Martinez has claimed that he was rather hesitant in joining Arsenal when he arrived from Indipendiente in 2010. The Aston Villa goalkeeping ace has said that he does not regret making the switch to the Emirates, but preferred staying put at Indipendiente.
Emiliano Martinez joined Arsenal from Indipendiente in 2010 and subsequently spent a decade at the north London club. For much of his stint with the Gunners, the Argentine goalkeeper had to suffice with either being a backup to the likes of Wojciech Szczesny, Petr Cech or Bernd Leno or being sent out on loan, having spent six different temporary stints away from the Emirates.
The 29-year-old finally got a chance to showcase his best abilities late in the 2019/20 season, when Leno had picked up a long-term injury. Martinez ended up being a key player as Arsenal lifted the FA Cup. However, once Leno regained fitness, Mikel Arteta showed his preference towards him, leaving Martinez with no option but to leave Arsenal.
As a result, he joined Aston Villa last summer, and the move has paid off handsomely as he has not only managed to become one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League but also the first-choice shot stopper for Argentina. In addition, he has been linked with some of the biggest clubs in Europe as well. However, he could very well have not been an Arsenal player to begin with.
In his interview with El Pais, Martinez made this revelation, saying, “Arsenal came to look for me and Pepe Santoro [a coach at Independiente] told me that the train only passes once in a lifetime. My family and my agents thought the same. So, the decision was more for them than anything else.”
“I didn’t want to go. I did not regret it, but I wanted to play in Independiente. For a while, I thought: ‘If I stayed, in two years I will make my debut.’ My family] lacked a little financially. I did it more for that than sports.”
Martinez’s comments would come as a major surprise to many, although Arsenal fans would be happy to learn that he does not regret the move to the north London club. Now, his stock has risen considerably, with Atletico Madrid the latest club to have shown an interest in him.
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For now, the 29-year-old continues to go from strength to strength at Aston Villa and it remains to be seen if he ends up joining Los Rojiblancos in the future.