Aston Villa are eager to begin negotiations over a new contact for Emiliano Martinez after it emerged that a top European club is interested in the goalkeeper.
The 28-year-old joined Villa from Arsenal in September last year, with the West Midlanders paying £20m. The Argentina international enjoyed a superb Premier League campaign. He played every minute of the Villans’ 38 top-flight matches, equalling Brad Friedel’s club record of 15 clean sheets in a season.
The Gunners were left red-faced after seeing their former back-up keeper shine. The Mar del Plata-born ace was on the north Londoners’ books for eight years. He made only 15 league appearances and 38 in all competitions.
Oxford United, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United, Wolves, Getafe and Reading all benefitted from his services. Arsenal finally let him leave on a permanent basis last year.
The South American inked a four-year deal at Villa Park and is in no hurry to find a new club. But Manchester United have already been mentioned in connection with the talented shot-stopper.
The rangy star’s recent exploits in the Copa America have raised his profile even higher. Now firmly established as Argentina’s number one keeper, he excelled at the summer showpiece.
La Albiceleste lifted the trophy, with Martinez saving three penalties in a semi-final shootout triumph over Colombia. According to 90min, an unnamed European club is now looking to muscle in on the action.
They have reportedly spoken to his representatives to test the water over his availability.
Villa look to secure Martinez future
Having a settled defence and keeper is vital to long-term top-flight security. The last line of defence is arguably the most important.
An ability to command the area and marshal those in front is crucial and Martinez has it in spades. There have been a lot of negative comments about Arsenal’s recent transfer policy.
Letting Martinez go might have been the worst piece of business they have done. Dean Smith seems determined to keep hold of the former Independiente youth star.
Talks are due to begin to offer him improved terms and tie him down to a longer deal. It would also increase his value if a massive European club turned his head at some stage in the future.
Villa kick off their campaign at home to Watford on August 14 and will hope to have Martinez between the posts.