Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham Hotspur

Premier League • England

Tottenham prioritise transfer that will anger Arsenal over three alternatives

Emiliano Martinez could make Arsenal regret their decision to sell him even more by signing for one of their rivals in his next move, a report claims.

Martinez spent several years on the books at Arsenal but rarely got a chance to play. He ended up playing 38 times for the Gunners despite being owned by the club for a decade. Although a good run of form towards the end of the 2019-20 season could have opened up a chance for him, Arsenal instead kept their faith in Bernd Leno as number one.

Eager to prove himself and become an Argentina international, Martinez took the decision to move on. He signed for Aston Villa in September 2020 and instantly became their first choice.

Ever-present in the Premier League, he kept 15 clean sheets in his debut season at Villa Park. His form earned him the international recognition he was craving. In fact, he even became a Copa America winner earlier this year.

Villa’s acquisition of Martinez was shrewd business, but there has been a feeling ever since that – with all due respect to a traditionally big club – he could have aimed higher.

Therefore, transfer rumours have been following him around. For example, Atletico Madrid were recently said to be interested in signing him as a replacement if they have to sell Jan Oblak.

But Martinez’s future could still be in England even if he leaves Villa. According to the Independent, Tottenham Hotspur are considering him as a potential successor for Hugo Lloris.

Spurs captain Lloris turns 35 in December and is out of contract at the end of the season. He could yet sign an extension and take his service to the club beyond a decade. But the club will still have to think of who can fill his gloves for the long-term.

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Martinez has reportedly emerged onto the radar of managing director Fabio Paratici. Tottenham have consequently been carrying out background work to see if a transfer would be possible.

Villa have him under contract until 2024, so are under no immediate pressure. But at the age of 29, his value could decline in years to come.

Now, though, he is at his peak price, which leaves his employers with the dilemma of whether to cash in or stick with him. As things stand, they view him as an integral part of their future.

But Tottenham are trying to find out if they could tempt them into a sale – and if Martinez would be open to returning to north London. On the latter front, it is said to be unlikely that Martinez, a popular figure in the Villa dressing room, would push to leave.

Spurs shortlist three Martinez alternatives

A deal for Martinez may be difficult from a financial perspective. With that in mind, Tottenham are keeping their options open and do have three alternatives.

The report adds that they are considering West Brom’s Sam Johnstone, Napoli’s Alex Meret and Real Sociedad’s Alex Remiro.

Johnstone has been on Tottenham’s radar for a while. After earning England recognition despite West Brom’s relegation from the Premier League last season, he could be a good option to consider.

The 28-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, so unless he renews will be available for free.

Meret, meanwhile, competes for a place with ex-Arsenal keeper David Ospina in Naples. At the age of 24, he is under contract until 2023, so his current club will face a dilemma over his future next summer.

The 26-year-old Remiro, for his part, has thrived since joining Real Sociedad from Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao in 2019. He has been their number one ever since and is also out of contract in 2023.

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But Martinez remains the top target for Tottenham – depending on what decision they make with Lloris – due to his Premier League experience and the chance to make their rivals Arsenal bitter.

The Gunners’ decision to stick with Leno has not been justified in comparison. The goalkeeping department was a problem for them throughout last season, forcing them back into the market to sign Aaron Ramsdale in the summer.

Keeping Martinez in the first place would have been cheaper and just as effective. But if he is to return to the capital, it could be with their rivals instead.

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