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Back in August, it was reported that Emi Martinez was close to signing a new contract with Arsenal despite plenty of interest in him from England and Spain but he then signed for Aston Villa so what happened in those last few weeks?
At the end of August, The Telegraph reported that Emi Martinez was ‘close to signing’ a new contract with Arsenal. Various Premier League rivals were offering him a role as number one, but the club wanted him to stay. That was a change from last summer, and even earlier in this one, when they were open to selling him.
Arsenal had already offered Martinez an extension by that point and Arsenal were reportedly planning to give him game time this season.
But it emerged that, after being left out of the squad that travelled to Fulham for the opening day Premier League fixture, Martinez was having a medical at Aston Villa. They had offered him a four-year deal and assurances he would be number one, something Arsenal wouldn’t give him.
That still didn’t seem to make much sense. In 10 years at the club, Martinez was never closer to seizing the number one shirt at the club.
Why did Emi Martinez leave Arsenal?
Turns out, not only did Mikel Arteta tell Martinez that Leno would be his number one for the season, he was also told the Spaniard had no intention of rotating his keepers for cup competitions, a move that appeases many keepers who are too good to be number two but not good enough to be number one at big clubs.
Arteta certainly showed faith in the Argentine when he gave him a start in the Community Shield. Martinez had missed the pre-season friendly against MK Dons earlier that week due to quarantine but he quickly returned to the starting lineup anyway.
The 27-year-old rewarded that faith with another strong performance in net. He made a couple of crucial saves from Sadio Mane and looked comfortable catching balls in the air as usual. That’s vital against a Liverpool side who love crossing.
It was the latest in a string of recent results against the big-six with Martinez in the team. He helped Arsenal beat Liverpool twice, as well as Chelsea and Manchester City. He was also unlucky to be on the losing side after a strong display against Spurs.
In all, he played 12 games in a row last season and felt that was enough to start demanding he be number one.
It was a point he hammered home to the point of boredom over the summer and, perhaps, his move to Aston Villa shows exactly why Emi Martinez was never able to make it at Arsenal.