Aston Villa

Aston Villa

Premier League • England

Unai Emery planning for Emi Martinez exit as Aston Villa join clubs looking to benefit from Everton dithering

Emi Martinez of Aston Villa

Aston Villa are the latest club linked with a swoop for Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford as rumours about Emiliano Martinez continue to grow.

Martinez, 30, has been with the Villans since September 2020. The Argentina international has amassed 91 appearances in all competitions, earning his first cap for Argentina in 2021. And he has now cemented his place with La Albiceleste, starring in the recent World Cup as Argentina lifted the trophy.

However, the man from Mar del Plata did blot his copybook in Qatar. He was seen to make an obscene gesture after being awarded the Golden Glove for the tournament’s best keeper.

And the Villa man was also criticised for mocking France’s Kylian Mbappe during Argentina’s victory parade in Buenos Aires.

Villa manager Unai Emery insists he will speak to the keeper about his antics when he returns to the West Midlands.

But that does not seem to have put off potential suitors, with many clubs said to be keen on the South American.

Manchester United are thought to be interested as they look for an alternative to David de Gea.

It remains to be seen if Martinez does have his head turned by any big-name clubs. But it appears as though Aston Villa are preparing for his possible exit.

United, Tottenham and Chelsea have all been linked with England shot-stopper Pickford. And now Villa’s name has been added to his list of admirers.

Pickford, 28, is under contract at Goodison Park until the summer of 2024.

The Toffees have been busy preparing a new deal for the former Sunderland man. However, he has yet to put pen to paper, giving clubs hope of landing the talented custodian.

Vultures circling for Pickford

Pickford began his career at Sunderland after coming up through the club’s youth ranks. A move away seemed inevitable and Everton pounced in the summer of 2017.

He has enjoyed 215 outings in all competitions for the Merseysiders and earned 50 caps for the Three Lions.

It has not all been plain sailing, with dips in form bringing into question his status as England’s number one.

But he remains in favour with Gareth Southgate and featured in the recent World Cup.

The Washington-born ace is entering his peak years for a goalkeeper and may fancy a shot at Champions League football.

He is unlikely to get that with his present employers, as Everton find themselves struggling in 16th spot in the table.

A recent report claimed that Pickford is happy to stay at Everton. And the delay in signing a fresh contract is ‘at boardroom level, and not with the player’, according to the Daily Mail.

Clubs will doubtless be keeping a keen eye on his situation, however.

Doubts remain over Martinez future

Martinez was on the Arsenal books for nine years but saw little action. He made a total of 38 appearances for the Gunners, with just 15 coming in the Premier League.

Loans to the likes of Oxford, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, Wolves, Getafe and Reading followed. But it is the move to Villa Park that has really kick-started his career.

However, Paul Robinson recently warned the top clubs against making a move for the Argentinian.

The former England keeper feels he is not at the ‘elite’ level required to play for the likes of United or Spurs.

The transfer window is now open and it remains to be seen if the linked clubs heed Robinson’s warning.

Pickford is at that elite level but could become part of the goalkeeping merry-go-round.

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