Arsenal will begrudgingly allow Emiliano Martinez to join Aston Villa if their Premier League rivals improve their offer for the goalkeeper. The Argentine is claimed to have agreed personal terms with Villa, who this week had a £15million bid rejected for the player.
Martinez has been excellent for the Gunners since stepping into the team for the injured Bernd Leno but his form presents Mikel Arteta with a problem.
Because Leno was so good pre-injury and Martinez has been peerless in his absence, Arteta faces a tough call over who to make his long-term first choice between the sticks.
South American shot-stopper Martinez has just two years left on his deal at the Emirates and has made it clear that to commit his future to the club, he wants to be No 1 over Leno.
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The German was equally as reliable as his team-mate however and boasted the second-best save percentage in the Premier League last season, behind only Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris.
The Independent say that although Mikel Arteta would prefer to keep Martinez, Arsenal will reluctantly allow him to leave in search of consistent Premier League starts.
Arteta has held regular talks with the 27-year-old, who has spent a decade at the north London outfit, but has failed to give him any assurances over his role for the upcoming campaign and beyond.
It is believed Leno will start in goal for the club’s opening fixture of the new top-flight campaign away at newly-promoted Fulham on Saturday (12.30pm kick-off).
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And the Independent add that Martinez has agreed the contract he would sign if he was to move to Villa Park, which would pay him around £60,000 a week over four years.
The keeper would prefer to join up with Dean Smith’s side than move elsewhere despite interest from Unai Emery’s Villarreal because he wants to remain in the Premier League.
Martinez this week rejected a contract offer at Arsenal as he seeks a guaranteed starting role, which Villa can offer.
Villa have yet to submit an acceptable bid to the Gunners however as they hold out for £20m, with the Midlands club’s latest offer falling £5m short of that valuation.
Negotiations will reportedly continue between the two clubs despite Arteta wanting to keep the player.
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The Spanish coach is thought to have identified Brentford’s David Raya as his first choice target if Martinez does leave the Londoners.
The Bees are reluctant to lose the Spaniard however because they don’t want to let go of more key players after selling striker Ollie Watkins this week for £28m rising to £33m.
Arteta, discussing the situation between Martinez and Leno, said last month: “I love to have two goalkeepers at the level of Bernd and Emi.
“Last season, when Bernd got injured, if somebody had some doubts about Emi’s character or qualities then he’s shown what he’s able to do and he didn’t do it for one game, he did it for 10 or 11 games in a row.
“I’m delighted to have both of them. But they both know that on the first day of pre-season, you start again and fight for your place and show us who is the one that deserves the chance to start.
“I don’t want to keep them both happy, I want the one that is not playing to be upset. But upset and then challenge the next player to make him better, or if not, earn his place to do that. It’s not easy to do that.
“I personally don’t see any different with goalkeepers to full-backs. They know that, I’ve been really clear with them and hopefully they can make each other better and hopefully the team better.”
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