The former Arsenal keeper, Emiliano Martinez, has today signed for Aston Villa.
Words: Mark Jirobe | @VillaMarkPGH
Emiliano Martinez has joined Aston Villa on a four-year deal, with the transfer fee to be rumoured in the neighbourhood of 20 million pounds. It was reported this past week that Martinez agreed on a £60,000 per week contract by The Independent. The 28-year-old goalkeeper comes into the fold at Villa, where keeping goals out of the back of their own net was a severe problem last season. According to John Percy at The Telegraph, Martinez is set to be handed his very first start in the season opener against Sheffield United.
Ashley Preece, Villa Club Writer at The Birmingham Mail claims that Tom Heaton is ‘believed to be taken aback by Villa’s all-out pursuit to bring in a new No.1. & Dean Smith is concerned by Heaton’s recovery.’ If Heaton’s rehabilitation is in question, you cannot blame Dean Smith and Sporting Director Johan Lange for acting so swiftly to bring in a new number one option.
This may also say more about the confidence that Dean Smith has in other available goalkeepers such as Jed Steer & Orjan Nyland. Pepe Reina was the deputized man between the stick for Villa through Project Restart on a loan capacity and replacing the experienced Spaniard seemed to be a top priority. Lovre Kalinic is also contracted to the club and it would not be a surprise to see him moved on sooner than later.
Martinez found himself in goal for Arsenal for a total of 2497 minutes after an injury to Arsenal’s Bernd Leno last season and didn’t look out of his depth at all. Arsenal supporters aren’t too thrilled about Martinez departing for more playing time as they see him as a very good backup option, but most also admit that he is too good to waste away on the bench or coming into the fold solely for cup competitions. Martinez faced 110 shots towards his net last season and conceded 28 goals across all competitions.
The goalkeeper position is the one area of the pitch that has been a merry-go-round for many seasons now at Aston Villa. It would say a lot to have a nailed-on starter week in and week out that can stay healthy and the brass at Aston Villa are hoping Martinez can be that player for the foreseeable future.
Goalkeeper Coach Neil Cutler had his hands full at Villa last season and his ‘Ministry Of Keepers’ included Jed Steer, Orjan Nyland, Pepe Reina and Tom Heaton at different times throughout the campaign.
With new signings such as Matty Cash, Ollie Watkins and now Emiliano Martinez, Aston Villa are definitely attempting to fix vital issues they succumbed to in their first season back in the Premier League.
There are still swells of transfer rumours and links that claim Milot Rashica from Werder Bremen and Bertrand Traoré will also arrive in B6 sooner than later. Villa could be quietly having a club defining transfer window if it all goes to plan, albeit already spending a large amount of money while doing so.
Dean Smith said of his new arrival:
“We moved for Emi when we saw the opportunity, as it is rare to be able to buy a top class goalkeeper who hasn’t reached their peak age – and who therefore can be a key player for our Club for the long term.”