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Emi Martinez has made it perfectly clear to Arsenal that if he doesn’t get more playing time next season, he’s off.
Arsenal were looking for a new backup goalkeeper before Bernd Leno injured his knee at Brighton and Martinez was handed the number one shirt.
Nobody expected him to perform as well as he did, finishing the season with the best save percentage of any keeper in the Premier League.
Arsenal called off their search for a new keeper and started talking about a new deal for the Argentine they already had.
“I have shown the club that I can play and, when I return next season, I need to have more games,” Martinez reportedly told the Argentine radio station, Continental, according to Monday’s Daily Mail.
“That is the only way I will stay at Arsenal. My target is to consolidate my place and to reach the Argentina national team as No 1. I won’t stop until I get that and if I don’t play for Arsenal, then I will move on.”
Martinez has been at Arsenal for a decade now and, while he always looked like a competent keeper, until this spell he never looked like he had what was needed to make it as Arsenal’s number one on a permanent basis.
Of course, we didn’t consider the ‘Gerry Peyton’ factor – the one man I hold personally responsible for destroying more keepers than is acceptable.
Since Peyton left and Martinez received coaching from somebody who actually knows what they are doing, he has been a man transformed.
Let’s not forget, it’s not like Bernd Leno was a bit rubbish this season. Arsenal fans even voted him Player of the Season runner-up. Every argument could be made that he was our player of the season before he picked up his injury at Brighton.
Martinez is out of contract in 2022, so it will be interesting to see how the club handle this moving forward. There is no doubt that Martinez deserves to keep the number one shirt going into the new season.
That, in itself, will likely cause issues with Leno who is too good to be a number two. He’s under contract until 2023.
The German also earns around five times what Arsenal pay Emi Martinez at present.