After being left out of today’s Arsenal match day squad, it has been reported that Emi Martinez has undergone a medical this Saturday afternoon at Bodymoor Heath, while Aston Villa were busying themselves with a one-nil friendly win over Manchester United at Villa Park.
The deal for the Arsenal keeper is believed to be worth up to £20m, with Martinez expected to be Villa’s number one from the Sheffield United game onwards, once the deal is completed, leaving Tom Heaton needing to win his shirt back, after he returns from injury in a month or two’s time.
It’s a signing that works for Villa primarily because it’s an opportunity to get a potential top level keeper in within their currently restrictive wage set-up.
Martinez, it’s reported was on £20,000-a-week at Arsenal and had expected contract improvement/renewal discussions iced due to Covid-19 and the restart last season. After taking advantage of Bernd Leno’s injury against Brighton during the restart period, Martinez has since played for Arsenal in both their FA Cup final and Community Shield wins.
Having had a taste of first team football and impressing with his performances, it was always going to be difficult for him to return back to the Gunner’s bench.
From Villa’s perspective, while the keeper’s value has inflated since Project Restart, the fact Martinez was on a relatively low Premier League wage, means they can double to triple them, without troubling the current wage structure and furthermore upsetting the apple cart, in terms of Villa’s leading earners such as Jack Grealish and Tyrone Mings.
It also helps the club to be compliant to FFP, where the three previous years it’s calculated on still includes Championship financial limits to factor in.
It’s the same way Ollie Watkins transfer was rationalised, while his transfer fee was high, generally speaking, it can be spread in payments and add-ons, while his wages would be reasonably sensible in Premier League terms and wouldn’t break the current structure – yet the player himself, would enjoy a huge increase on his previous wage.
The same would apply to Milot Rashica, if he chose to join, as the player himself would also enjoy a decent pay increase, without it upsetting the likes of Grealish.
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The real reason Villa lost out to Newcastle in the chase for Callum Wilson, was the fact Villa wouldn’t entertain paying him more than the kind of wages he was on at Bournemouth. There was talk of his wages being close to the £100k mark, whether this is true or not, you can at least say that Newcastle will be potentially paying Wilson close to or more than Villa currently pay the likes of Grealish and Mings.
With both Grealish and Mings both in the current England squad and the club’s prime movers at the moment, paying Wilson such wages, would have had the Villa duo’s agents knocking on Villa CEO Christian Purslow’s door the next day. Thus suddenly, if Villa have to improve those contracts, the initial Wilson transfer becomes even more expensive for a player, who won’t have much sell on value after he served his time at Villa.
It’s a tricky balance to get right for the club working within a tighter wage structure than say more established Premier League clubs.
Speaking of balancing the books, with the Martinez signing announcement incoming by the club, their attention will turn to trying to get both Ørjan Nyland and Lovre Kalinić off the books. Both keepers will need to be playing regular football to maintain their national team careers too.
Expect a potential Villa keeper fire sale on transfer deadline day.
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