Mikel Arteta has revealed that Arsenal sold Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa in order to “find some balance” financially.
Martinez had enjoyed a fine end to last season as he replaced the injured Bernd Leno for the closing weeks of the campaign. But he was dropped in favour of the Germany international for last week’s opening day win at Fulham.
Villa paid a reported £20million for Martinez, and Arteta said the sale could help fund new signings.
“We have to find some balance between what we want to achieve with the squad and our finances,” he said. “And it gets to a point where you have to make a decision whether to achieve certain things you have to sacrifice others.
“But time will tell whether we are weaker or not. Obviously the recruitment we are planning to do to try to get our second goalkeeper hopefully will bring us a really good performance level.”
Arteta also suggested a change in expectations from Martinez, given he had finally made it into the Arsenal side having joined 10 years ago, led to a situation where neither he nor Leno would be happy to warm the bench.
“I was very clear with both of them that it wasn’t a one and a two, they had to compete for their place like any other position in the team,” he said.
“To be fair, Bernd was superb before he got injured at Brighton and Emi was absolutely excellent with all the games he played and how much he helped us win the trophies.
“But at the end of the day that created a big competition, some big expectations from both of them and we had to deal with that.
“We were really open and trying to have those discussions. In the end Emi had a really good offer and it was very suited for what he wants to achieve long-term and short-term and we allowed him to leave the club.”
Arsenal could fund new signings
The PA news agency understands a deal to sign Dijon goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson is close. Brentford’s first-choice David Raya also continues to be linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium.
Martinez was one of the players Arsenal had to sell in order to raise funds for their transfer targets. Sead Kolasinac and Lucas Torreira could also leave.
Arteta is keen to strengthen his midfield by signing Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar – while a report has revealed which of the pair he would prefer if he could only sign one.
Elsewhere in his press conference, Arteta claimed Arsenal are as big as Barcelona after explaining Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s decision to stay.