Mikel Arteta has given his thoughts on Aston Villa pair Emi Buendia and Emiliano Martinez, as Arsenal prepare to do battle against Dean Smith’s side on Friday night.
Arsenal were reportedly interested in signing Buendia from Norwich in the summer. However, Villa usurped any potential deal, snapping up the Argentine before Arsenal ultimately settled on a permanent move for Martin Odegaard instead.
And asked by a reporter about Arsenal’s interest in Buendia over the summer, Arteta gave a blunt response.
“I never disclose the players that we were interested in, and I’m not going to do that now,” he said via Metro.
Buendia has not had the desired impact he or Villa fans would have wanted since his arrival. The midfielder has scored just once in seven appearances, and has no assists so far.
Though his teammate and fellow Argentine, Martinez, has continued last season’s stellar form, keeping three clean sheets in the league so far.
Arteta has praised Martinez, who signed for Villa from Arsenal last summer.
“He’s a great keeper. I played with him. I managed him. He has tremendous personality as well and he’s showing that at Aston Villa and the national team. I can say that I’m happy for him,” he said.
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Despite his praise, Arteta will be hoping Martinez’s high standards slip on Friday night.
Arsenal and Villa are separated by just one point at present with the sides sitting 12th and 13th respectively.
Arteta to thin Arsenal squad
The Gunners brought in six first-team players in the summer. Accordingly, they are reportedly seeking to make moves in the opposite direction in January.
Bernd Leno is one of the first names that looks to be nearing the exit door. The goalkeeper is behind Aaron Ramsdale in the pecking order, and desires first-team football.
With just 18 months left on his contract, Arsenal will be looking to cash in. The January window represents the perfect time for them to maximise their returns.
Calum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac and Mohamed Elneny are all players that could move on from Arsenal in the near future and were named on the seven-man lidt of names who could be axed.