Martinez got an extended run in the first team for the last six weeks of the 2019/20 season due to an injury suffered by Bernd Leno in Arsenal’s Premier League game against Brighton on June 20th that ruled him out for the remainder of the season. The Argentine put in a string of impressive performances and proved that he has what it takes to be Arsenal’s first choice goalkeeper.
He started the North London club’s last eight Premier League games of the season. The Gunners won five, lost just two and kept three clean sheets. He was an integral part of an Arsenal team that won the FA Cup for a record fourteenth time. He didn’t put a foot wrong against Manchester City in the semi final or Chelsea in the final.
The Argentine indicated that he would leave the club if he did not play regularly this season. It is believed that Mikel Arteta and his staff still consider Bernd Leno to be the club’s first choice goalkeeper and the Gunners feel they have little choice but to let Martinez leave.
Raul Sanllehi, the club’s former head of football, had reportedly valued the goalkeeper at £20 million. In the current economic climate, there is an acceptance that they might have to be willing to accept lower offers. Martinez is hoping the club will consider halving their valuation of him as a sign of respect for the years of service he has provided to the North London club.
There are a number of clubs in Spain and England that are interested in signing Arsenal’s second choice goalkeeper. Valencia and Real Betis have registered an interest in the player.
Aston Villa are said to be preparing a £10 million offer for the player, according to Miguel Delaney of the Independent. Tom Heaton, who was Villa’s first choice goalkeeper last season, is still recovering from a knee injury he suffered in January.
Pepe Reina was signed on loan from AC Milan to help Aston Villa beat the drop in Heaton’s absence. He returned to Milan after his loan spell ended and recently sealed a transfer to Lazio. It remains to be seen if Arsenal will accept this offer considering they would like to get closer to £20 million for the goalkeeper.
Martinez has maintained that his ultimate ambition is to be Argentina’s first choice goalkeeper and is aware that for this dream to become a reality, he will have to play regularly. He would like to do this at Arsenal but is fully prepared to leave if he is not afforded that opportunity.
Arsenal will have to sign a backup goalkeeper if the Argentine exits the club. They are reportedly interested in signing Brentford goalkeeper David Raya who has worked with Arsenal’s goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana in the past. It is, however, believed that Brentford do not plan on selling one of their key players.
The Arsenal goalkeeper has two years remaining on a six year deal worth £20,000 a week that he signed in 2016. His representatives have been attempting to renegotiate his terms at the club for some time as they believe his contributions at Arsenal are worthy of a higher salary. The North London club delayed these talks for a number of reasons, one of which was the coronavirus crisis, but the postponement was always made on the understanding that any pay rise would be retrospective.
As a result, Martinez will expect Arsenal to keep up their end of the deal even if he departs the club and so the Gunners will have to pay him a six or seven figure bonus should he leave this summer.