Emiliano Martinez, the Arsenal second choice goalkeeper, put up several man-of-the-match performances in the absence of Bernd Leno. An injury to Leno gave him the opportunity, and he grabbed it with both hands. The Argentine gave no room for the Arsenal faithful to miss the absence of their first-choice goalkeeper.
The 27-year-old Martinez filled Leno’s boots, making countless top-quality saves, and playing a pivotal role in Arsenal clinching their 14th FA Cup title.
Consequently, his excellent string of performances has attracted the attention of potential suitors. Clubs have started making inquiries about his availability. Speaking during an interview with Spanish outlet Marca, Martinez appears to be applying more pressure on Arsenal to hand him a more prominent role next term.
He insists that while he wants to stay at Arsenal, he needs more game time. In his words, ten European sides are showing an interest in his services.
Martinez putting in some top displays for Arsenal at the time has put Mikel Arteta and co in a dilemma. It might look like Martinez is making false claims, but in reality, he genuinely impressed in Leno’s absence. Rumour has it that Leeds are among the clubs in need of his services.
In a chat with goal.com he was reported to say;
“I want to stay at Arsenal, but only if I get more minutes. Because on a personal level, I am at an age where to build confidence, I need to be playing as many minutes as possible. “
“I am in the crosshairs of 10 teams in Europe, but I can’t say who those clubs are because there’s nothing concrete.”
“I still do not have a clear situation with Arsenal, when I have it when I return I will make the best decision for my career.”
This situation, in reality, portends a big headache to the Arsenal hierarchy. In recent years Arsenal has not managed their second option goalkeepers well. It has led to the departure of Wojciech Tomasz Szczęsny to Juventus, David Ospina to Napoli, and Lucas Fabianski to Swansea. In each case, the club relied on her Academy goalkeepers
which Martinez has filled in.
Letting Martinez go will send the wrong signal of the club’s ambitions. Martinez has matured into a world-class goalkeeper. With no current backup close to his and Leno’s ability, letting him go is not an option. Mattew Macey, the third-choice goalkeeper at Arsenal, is a good guy. At 26 he is also experienced in age but not in games as much as Martinez has garnered. Letting Martinez go for a fee and getting Macey up to the second choice looks good business-wise. In the long run, it may backfire in a football sense.
Despite having spent just over a decade at the club,
Martinez had, until recently, never managed to secure regular first-team
football for the Gunners. He has been out on a series of loans, to the likes of Reading, Wolves, and Getafe. Martinez has paid his dues at Arsenal and deserves more minutes like he is demanding.
Letting Martinez go for any price should not be an option for Arsenal. If they are truly ambitious and want to be competitive in the coming seasons, Martinez must stay.