Emi Martinez’s story is everything a fan of the club wants to hear.
The Argentinean leaves his family to further his career and earn his fortune, primarily to help those who have been there for him throughout.
It is a wrench to do so, but he joins Arsenal back in 2012 and sets about proving himself.
Loans at Oxford United, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, Wolves, Getafe and Reading, with differing levels of success. His spell at Reading though, seemed to break new ground. He was a key component in their side and regularly put in performances that earned the Royals points.
Upon returning, he still had players in front of him, competition that was hampering his chances of games. But Petr Cech’s retirement and Martinez’s attitude was a combination that led Unai Emery to install Emi as the Number two for this season.
Emery has since departed, but Martinez has taken his chance. At the start of the season, Martinez thought perhaps he might get some cup games – but not in his wildest dreams would he have foreseen lifting the FA Cup in his midst.
And it is entirely deserved. From his humble beginnings, he is now arguably on level pegging with a goalkeeper that is the best we have had since his German counterpart, Jens Lehmann. Bernd Leno for the last two seasons has been nominated for our Player of the year award – and yet Martinez has come into the side thanks to Leno’s injury and his performances have been so commanding that Mikel Arteta simply can’t drop him.
Emi’s tears at the final whistle of our momentous Cup win and him stating that he ‘doesn’t care about the money,’ only serve to endear him to us even more. His tenure at the club is eight years, but he has had to wait that length of time for his chance at Arsenal. That tells you he not only has the strongest mentality – he also loves the club.
It will be extremely difficult to keep both Leno and Martinez happy at the club. One will have to take the Number One status, while the one who is snubbed will most likely want to depart.
But Martinez has done everything right to get to this point – and his talent is now allowed to shine. It is hard to imagine Martinez wanting to drop that.
Who would you have as next season’s Number One?