Aston Villa Sign Emiliano Martinez
Aston Villa announced their third signing this transfer window with Emiliano Martinez penning a four-year deal, after having his medical at the weekend and finally settling his financials with Arsenal.
The Arsenal keeper came to prominence during the restart period last season, capping a series of impressive displays with two Wembley winners medals after starring in Arsenal’s FA Cup and Community Shield triumphs.
It was very much a case of Villa spotting an opportunity, as after a decade of loans and playing second string, the Argentine keeper got a taste for first team football, and wasn’t too happy about Bernd Leno regaining the Arsenal No.1 shirt.
“We moved for Emi when we saw the opportunity,” said Dean Smith. “It is rare to be able to buy a top class goalkeeper who hasn’t yet reached their peak age and who can therefore be a key player for our Club for the long term.”
The goalkeeper position has been a on-going concern for Villa, who have now signed at least one goalkeeper in the past five transfer windows (Nyland, Moreira, Kalinic, Heaton, Reina and Martinez). That statistic alone tells you all you need to know about the problem it has caused.
Kalinic and Nyland ultimately have gone down as poor investments, not only for the poor return on their own transfer fees, but for the additional spending in the position they have triggered. Tom Heaton, while a solid signing, came with injury concerns that were firmly realised when he missed half of Villa’s first season back in the Premier League.
If Villa are to have any ambition in the Premier League, they can ill-afford to field a make-do second string keeper, while they wait for Heaton to resurface. Also, at 34, Heaton won’t exactly become more resilient to injury as he gets older.
It was a wise move for Villa to have two legitimate number one class keepers in the squad to battle it out, and if one does have an injury, the position isn’t compromised long-term.
To Martinez’s credit, the Argentinian keeper has had the personal resolve not to accept his previous role as long-term Arsenal benchwarmer. While he was perhaps unspectacular in certain loan periods away from the Gunners over the past few years, he impressed big time with a settled run with Arsenal at the end of last season.
Martinez was due a pay-rise at the Gunners, but the articulate keeper has thankfully proven his desire to play first team football and Villa could have banked themselves – as Smith said – a real top class keeper for the long run.
While it’s a shame for Martinez personally, that his FA Cup and Community Shield winning experiences last season for Arsenal were behind-close-doors, hopefully he can now be part of a Villa team in the future that will give him the experience of winning a trophy in front of actual supporters.