Emiliano Martinez has claimed Arsenal offered him a contract to remain at the Emirates but he opted to join Aston Villa instead, speaking to DAZN.
The Argentine goalkeeper made a name for himself at the Emirates in the back end of last season. Bernd Leno’s injury opened the door for Martinez and he was one of Arsenal’s best players in the final few games of the season.
The 28-year-old has started the season brilliantly for Villa too. He has already kept two clean sheets, saved a penalty and helped his side beat the defending Premier League champions 7-2 just before the international break.
An undisputed first choice now, Martinez feels he made the right decision to leave Arsenal, even though he says Mikel Arteta offered him a new contract to extend his stay at the Emirates.
MARTINEZ REJECTED ARSENAL CONTRACT OFFER
He said, as reported by AS: “Arteta is a great coach. I knew him as a teammate and he will be one of the world’s great coaches in a few years.
“He said he had two number ones, that he didn’t know who was going to play (and) didn’t know who was going to start the league because we were both at a great level. I had finished well and Leno had been injured playing well.
“(Arteta) didn’t know who was going to be number one. And, faced with that doubt after winning two titles, I decided to leave the club after so many years.
“It was my decision. Arteta wanted to retain me. He even offered me a new contract and, for that, I was super grateful to him and to the club. But my decision had already been made.”
Leno was incredible for Arsenal before he got injured at Brighton last season. Martinez, in some fans’ eyes, did even better than the German, but one of them was likely to be sold this summer, and it was the Argentine.
Arsenal bought Martinez for next to nothing more than a decade ago. However, Leno cost the Gunners almost £20 million (BBC) in 2018.
Selling Martinez for £17 million (BBC) made a lot more sense financially than finding a buyer for the German, which wouldn’t have seen a big profit on investment.
Martinez’s sale helped Arsenal fund a move for Thomas Partey on transfer deadline day.
The Gunners are happy with their business, while the Argentine is thrilled to be a regular at Villa. That makes his decision to leave Arsenal the best for everyone involved.