Emiliano Martinez has confirmed that he will leave Arsenal this summer in an emotional message to the club's fans.
The Gunners goalkeeper is thought to be on the verge of a £20million move to Aston Villa having spent 11 years at the Gunners, during which time he left the club on six different loan spells.
Having taken over from the injured Bernd Leno in goal at the tail end of last season, Martinez was in the Arsenal side which won the FA Cup last month.
But having been informed by Mikel Arteta that Leno would return as No.1, Martinez asked to leave the club in order to be a first-choice elsewhere.
“Now I’ve had that feeling where, I had my chance at Arsenal," the Argentinean said on Instagram.
“Season after season I was always trying to come back to the club I love to try and have my chance.
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“I’ve done that, I waited through all the parts of frustration because football is not always easy like everyone thinks.
“I said to my family, I said to my team-mates, this is my time. I’m 27-years-old, I’ve got loads of game on my back, the talent was there, the power was there, I just needed the confidence and I had it.
“That why when I started against Southampton, I had a clean sheet, I started against Norwich, I had a clean sheet and then it looked like I’d been playing week in, week out for a long time.
“It’s because I was mentally prepared and over the years of being at Arsenal I’ve been working on my mental side.
“I’m proud to overcome my frustration and show the Arsenal fanbase what it means from 10 years ago, because I knew I could do the same thing years before.
“I truly believe that keepers go different times and different paths. For me it was hard but I knew that it was light at the end of the tunnel.
“I said to my wife at the end of the season, I don’t know how many games I will play, but I will get to Wembley.
“When I got there I was actually enjoying it. I wasn’t anxious, I wasn’t nervous, I was full of confidence and saying ‘this is my time’.
“With my family we decided, after 11 years at the club, you work 10 years so hard, you will leave through the front door today.
“For me, I couldn’t be happier to leave through the front door with the Arsenal fanbase supporting me, the club.
“I’m just very grateful for the 11 years at Arsenal, even though it was a hard road for me and I suffered through my time at Arsenal.
“Today I’m happy and I try to show young goalies that hard work pays off. When you work hard, you’re not going to be happy the whole time, you’re going to have frustration, bad times in your life, but you have to work past that.
“When you work past that you will see the light, and that’s what I saw when I won the FA Cup and the Community Shield.
“I saw blue sky and it was the right time for me to step up. They all understood at Arsenal, and they support me for my decision.
“For me, Arsene (Wenger) and Gerry Peyton are leaders and Tony Roberts, Sal Bibbo, they really welcomed me in the club and made me feel warm. They are really important people in my life.
“The Arsenal fanbase, they were always there for me, I felt their love and even when Bernd got injured I was receiving loads and loads of messages.
“‘Emi we trust you, you are our goalie, you’re from our academy, I know you’re going to do so well’, and that made me confident, made me win games and made me the keeper I am today.
“I’m so glad that they got two trophies. They understood my story, they loved the way I worked hard in the club, so I’m so grateful to have been part of the Arsenal family for 11 years.”
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