Didn’t regret Arsenal move but I wanted to play in Independiente, reveals Emiliano Martinez

Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez has admitted that he never wanted to join Arsenal when he made his switch to the Emirates Stadium from Independiente in 2010. The shot-stopper left North London in 2020 after a set of impressive performances convinced the Villa Park side to sign the Argentine.

Emiliano Martinez initially joined Arsenal from Brazilian club Independiente for £1.1 million as he left behind his family and nation to pursue a new challenge at 17 at one of the top clubs in Europe. The Argentine was sent out on loan to Oxford, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, Wolves, Getafe, and Reading during his stint with the London club with him well down in the club’s pecking order. Martinez was forced to watch Petr Cech, David Ospina and Wojciech Szczesny amongst others as he bided his time from the sidelines.

The former Arsenal goalkeeper got his chance towards the latter half of the 2019-20 season after an injury to Bernd Leno and that allowed the Argentine to take up the reins. Martinez made 23 appearances across all competitions, kept 9 clean sheets for the London side and was instrumental for Arsenal in the FA Cup final against Chelsea. However, with Leno still considered as the number 1, it saw the 29-year-old leave for Aston Villa.

Since then, he established himself as one of the top keepers in the Premier League with Aston Villa and won the Copa America with Argentina over the summer but Martinez has claimed that he would have preferred to stay in his home nation to continue his development rather than move to Arsenal. The goalkeeper also added that he did it more to help his family financially than for a sporting reason.

“Arsenal came to look for me and Pepe Santoro {a coach at Independiente} told me that the train only passes once in a lifetime. My family and my agents thought the same. So, the decision was more for them than anything else,” Martinez admitted in an interview with El Pais.

“I didn’t want to go. I did not regret it, but I wanted to play in Independiente. For a while, I thought: ‘If I stayed, in two years I will make my debut’. My family lacked a little financially. I did it more for that than sports,” he added.

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