Emiliano Martinez Reveals How He Left Arsenal & Claims Aston Villa Is 'Step Up'

Nov 10, 2020, 9:00 AM GMT
Emiliano Martinez
Emiliano Martinez swapped Arsenal for Aston Villa this summer | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images
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Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has admitted he sent a text message to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta demanding a move away after the Spaniard was non-committal with his team selection during the summer.

Martinez came into the Arsenal lineup towards the end of last season following an injury to Bernd Leno, and the 28-year-old was one of the Gunners' top performers as they lifted the FA Cup. This left Martinez believing as though he deserved to be a starting goalkeeper for a Premier League side.

Bernd Leno
Arteta refused to demote Leno | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Arteta was not as convinced and chose to keep his faith with Leno, eventually selling Martinez to Villa in a deal worth close to £20m, and the goalkeeper impressed in Sunday's 3-0 win over his former employers.

"I told him [Arteta] I wanted to play week in, week out and he couldn’t guarantee who was going to start,” Martinez said (via Goal) when asked about his exit from the Emirates. "Even before the Community Shield, he didn’t know who was going to play in goal.

"After ten years at the club, I didn’t want to wait until Friday night, the day before the game, to know whether I was going to play against Fulham [on the opening weekend] or not.
So I just texted him to say I was going to Aston Villa, so please help me and let me go.”

Emiliano Martinez
Arteta praises Martinez after Villa's 3-0 win | Pool/Getty Images

While it initially comes across as though Martinez holds a grudge towards Arteta, the Argentine was quick to dismiss such claims and praised his former boss for how he handled his eventual departure.

"He was very honest and very open with me,” Martinez added. “He helped me to leave the club after so many years.

“Obviously I have ambitions and he couldn’t help the ambitions that I wanted, so we had a clear conversation. He’s a very honest man and a great leader. I’ve already said how grateful I am for that and how pleased I am about how well he is doing at Arsenal. I’m so happy he is the leader of the club.”

Finally, Martinez discussed his hope for the future with Villa, and he couldn't resist taking a little dig at the Gunners in the process.

“When I decided to come to Villa it was because I trusted the manager and the club’s ambitions, and I knew how big Villa were," he explained.

“Some people do not realise how big Aston Villa are. They were all saying it was a step down in my career, but I always said it was a step up.

“I just wanted to play first-team football and Arsenal could not guarantee me that. They would not say I was going to play in the first game of the season against Fulham so when I had that doubt I had to leave. And Villa were the first option and the only one for me.”

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