Former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor admits that goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has proved him completely wrong since his arrival at Villa Park.
Martinez was, for so long, down the pecking order at Arsenal. That situation changed recently, though, when the Argentine got his chance after Bernd Leno’s injury in June.
Speaking to Football Insider, Agbonlahor revealed how he was initially sceptical of the £20million deal. However, the pundit has retracted that stance following Martinez’s form.
“I was quite shocked when it when it was done, the transfer,” Agbonlahor said. “I was like: ‘Ugh, we could use that money somewhere else, you know, we’ve got a couple of okay ‘keepers but I don’t think people realise what a top ‘keeper does to you.
“I mean, maybe 10 years ago when I was playing it was like: ‘The keeper will be alright as long as he can do a couple saves,’ spend the money on an attacker.
“But with Martinez it’s the way he can play up on the ball. I’ve seen some balls rapped into him and his control, his playing from the back, he’s composed and that’s a big thing in football now so I think the price we’ve got him is a steal because there’s a lot of clubs in the Premier League that would love to have him in their team.
“Some of the saves he’s been making have been outrageous and for me Aston Villa have needed a keeper with authority. And, you know, he’s a he’s a big guy as well.”
Martinez has appeared in all of Villa’s Premier League matches since signing, keeping four clean sheets. Indeed, such form has translated to the Villains sitting only three points behind Premier League leaders Leicester.
Martinez opens up on Arsenal exit
Martinez, 28, made a fantastic return to Arsenal on Sunday, with Villa winning 3-0 at The Emirates.
The Argentine has now revealed the talks that took place between himself and the Gunners over his future.
More specifically, an open and honest discussion with Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was crucial.