In a recent interview, ex-Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has admitted that he never wanted to join Arsenal and that he preferred to stay in his homeland and continue his development at former club Independiente. He was initially linked with Arsenal and was sold for over a million pounds to the Gunners back in 2010, leaving his family in Argentina at the age of 17 for a new challenge in England.
Martinez spent a decade to get a chance at Arsenal, as he was always considered the secondary or even the third-choice goalkeeper. While at Arsenal he was sent out on loan for several times, he went to Oxford, Sheffield Wednesday, Wolves, Getafe and Reading. He watched David Ospina, Szczesny, Petr Cech and Leno receive regular minutes while he was sent out on loans and was forced to sit on the bench. Leno was ahead of the Argentine and was consistently starting as the first choice goalkeeper until he suffered an injury against Brighton which forced him to sit out for the rest of the season.
While one door closed, another opened as Martinez finally got his chance at Arsenal, a chance to prove that he was not just a secondary goalkeeper. He rose up to the challenge and helped the club lift the FA Cup in 2019/20, while earning applauds for his heroics in the league as well. But soon after Leno recovered from his injury, Mikel Arteta ultimately started him as he saw Bernd as the first-choice goalkeeper.
Seeing this, Emiliano wanted a move away from Arsenal and Aston Villa came up with a 20 m offer which Arsenal received willingly. Since then, Emiliano Martinez has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the league while also becoming Argentina‘s number one choice.
What did Martinez say about joining Arsenal?
Martinez explained that he left Independiente so he could provide stronger financial support for his family, “Arsenal came to look for me and Pepe Santoro [a coach at Independiente] told me that the train only passes once in a lifetime,” the 29-year-old told Spanish publication El Pais. “My family and my agents thought the same. So, the decision was more for them than anything else.”