Summer Aston Villa recruit Emiliano Martinez has explained how his Arsenal exit came to be after declaring the Gunners “didn’t trust me like they should have.”
Martinez departed the Emirates after a 10-year stint with the club that never produced a sustained first-team run.
The Argentine had performed capably on the rare occasions he was called upon, becoming the club’s designated cup keeper in his final season.
Nevertheless, the decision was made to move on, with Aston Villa the beneficiaries after securing a deal potentially rising to £20m.
Since then, the stopper has anchored Dean Smith’s backline to great effect. A string of superb solo displays have combined with Villa’s improved defensive displays since the first lockdown. The result has seen them produce the joint-second-most clean sheets (13) this season behind Man City (15).
His exit ensured Bernd Leno cemented his place as Arsenal’s undisputed number one between the sticks. The German has been a consistent performer thus far. However, he was partially at fault for the calamitous equaliser that cost two points versus Burnley
“I love everything about Arsenal,” said the 28-year-old. “I still love them and I’m still watching the games, but I just felt like they didn’t trust me like they should have.
“That’s the reality because they kept buying goalkeepers to go in front of me and I was the goalkeeper from the academy.
“When I was on a high, I still felt like they didn’t deserve me because of the way they were treating me. They couldn’t guarantee me the games I needed so I thought that if they couldn’t guarantee me games, I’m moving on.
“They didn’t say to me that I wasn’t going to play, they just didn’t guarantee me the games that I wanted to play.
“So, after 10 years, I decided to leave, and it was very difficult. My family didn’t understand why I was leaving when I was at such a good level at Arsenal, but it was my decision to leave and I’m really proud I did it.
“It was a gamble, but I always believe that if you stay in the comfort zone, you will never reach anything in life. I decided to take the step up.”
Martinez lays out Aston Villa aspirations
Despite patchy recent form, Villa are in the mix for European qualification.
That is something Martinez has his heart set on after revealing he believes his summer switch was a “step up.”
“When I signed for Villa, from day one I said it was a step up in my career and I want to qualify for Europe with the club,” he added.
“I don’t know if that is this season or next season, but that’s something I really want to do.”