Emi Martinez didn’t want to join Arsenal when Gunners came calling

Martinez has gone from strength to strength since leaving Arsenal for Aston Villa last year, making his Argentina debut and becoming their No1 keeper as they won the Copa America

Emiliano Martinez bids emotional farewell to Arsenal ahead of transfer

Emi Martinez has admitted he did not want to join Arsenal when the Gunners offered him a chance to move to the Premier League.

The Argentina goalkeeper thrived after being sold to Aston Villa last season, with only Ederson and Edouard Mendy keeping more clean sheets.

Martinez was allowed to join Villa for £15million as he searched for regular football – despite many fans calling for him to be installed as Arsenal’s first-choice keeper after he impressed following an injury to Bernd Leno.

His move came after a decade at the Emirates during which he spent much of his time out on loan, with spells at Reading, Wolves, Rotherham, Sheffield Wednesday, Oxford United and Getafe.

Now the 29-year-old has said he never wanted to join the Gunners when they snapped him up from Independiente back in 2010 – preferring to target a first-team debut with the Buenos Aires club.

Emiliano Martinez said he didn’t want to leave Independiente for Arsenal back in 2010



But he said he was switched to Arsenal for the sake of his family after his coach Pepe Santoro convinced him it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Arsenal came to look for me and Pepe Santoro told me that the train only passes once in a lifetime,” Martinez told El Pais.

“My family and my agents thought the same. So, the decision was more for them [his family] than anything else.

“I didn’t want to go. I did not regret it, but I wanted to play in Independiente. For a while I thought: ‘If I stayed, in two years I will make my debut’.”

Martinez said he made his decision more to help his family than for sporting reasons, saying: “We lacked a little financially. I did it more for that than for sports.

“I knew I could get to Independiente’s first team. The club trusted the youth team goalkeepers.”

The keeper is with the Argentina squad for the international break, along with his club-mate Emi Buendia, who was linked with Arsenal over the summer before leaving Norwich for Villa.

Martinez only made his debut for his national team back in June, and was virtually ever present as they won the Copa America this summer – playing every minute barring one group game which he sat out.

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Martinez saves Edwin Cardona’s penalty during Argentina’s Copa America semi-final shootout win over Colombia

His determination to succeed was evident from a young age when he learned English within a year after being told by Arsene Wenger it was essential for a goalkeeper to be able to communicate with his team-mates.

Martinez said: “I did not know the language. And Wenger told me that the goalkeeper had to speak in English. When something gets into my head, I do it. In a year I learned to speak English and I even got my driver’s license.”

“I went from loan to loan, went through six different loans before I was established. I went through Spain and the Championship.

“Very good experiences in the second division in England, but very bad in Getafe. It was the lowest point of my career.”

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