Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has praised Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez on the club’s official website.
Martinez joined Villa from Premier League rivals Arsenal in the summer of 2020 for a transfer fee reported by The Guardian to be worth £20 million.
The 28-year-old goalkeeper played well in the final weeks of last season due to the injury to Bernd Leno.
However, Leno was reinstated as the first-choice custodian at the start of the 2020-21 campaign following his recovery from injury.
In search of regular first-team football Martinez joined Villa, and the Argentine will come up against his former club this weekend.
Dean Smith’s side will take on Arsenal away from home at the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League on Sunday evening, and Martinez is likely to start.
Ahead of the game, Arteta has raved about Martinez and has explained why the goalkeeper was sold.
Arteta told Arsenal’s official website: “He had a career of 10 years here. It wasn’t just the last six or eight months. You have to look at everything he did through his time at the club. Obviously, it wasn’t in my plans to sell him, but we gave him the chance because he deserved it.
“He performed really really well but we have to balance the books. We have to make the right choices in the market and obviously, I couldn’t guarantee him to be the number one. He’s a very ambitious person, he has been working really hard and he can see now that the opportunity is there.
“He’s got the opportunity to play with Argentina and when a player asks you to do that I think you have to be open enough and tell him what you think about him. If he makes the decision to leave, you should try to support him because he deserves it for the way he has served the club over the years.”
While leaving Arsenal for Villa would be considered a step-down by many, the fact of the matter is that Martinez is now able to play regular first-team football.
The 28-year-old has established himself as the number one goalkeeper for Villa, and his performances have been very encouraging indeed.
It made sense for Martinez to leave Arsenal and find a club where he could play regularly and have a successful career.
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