Have Arsenal made a huge mistake?
It certainly seems that way, with goalkeeper Emi Martinez and his future at the club ended with his move to Aston Villa.
The Midlands club have benefited from our goalkeeping predicament and Martinez’s desire to play first team football, with a winning bid of £20m meaning Villa have acquired Martinez’s services.
The Argentinean emerged from the shadows of the squad to play an instrumental role in not only our FA Cup win – but our strong end to the Premier League season too. He has now established himself as a fan favourite amongst the club support, and his affection for Arsenal is obvious to all.
Martinez had such a strong end to his season that he appeared to be on at the very least, level pegging in terms of vying for the number one shirt – with Bernd Leno.
This seemed improbable halfway through last season. Leno was saving us points with his consistently strong displays and the German appeared to be in a two-way fight for Player of the Year with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
But a terrible injury was the door opening that Martinez had bided the years for – and he took his opportunity.
Shot-stopping, aerial claiming and decision-making, Martinez showed in every game that he could easily be our first-choice goalkeeper for the foreseeable future – but how do you keep two established goalkeepers happy?
Neither Leno nor Martinez would have been content with sitting on the bench, so it was obvious one would leave and we would have been bereft whichever had gone. But all you need to do is watch Martinez’s departing interview to say goodbye to us Gooners to see the bond between him and the club.
All fans love to see loyalty, and Martinez’s patience in waiting for his chance has endeared himself to the fans as it shows he showed professionalism and how much he wanted to represent us.
We all know Arsenal have to sell before they buy any more players, but selling Martinez doesn’t sit well. We have let a keeper go that is approaching his prime and who genuinely cares about the club.
But Leno has proven himself time and again with the gloves…
It is a real conundrum.
What would you do?