Villa goalkeeper Martinez rejected new Arsenal contract

Lewis Oldham
Emiliano Martinez Mikel Arteta Arsenal

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has revealed that he turned down a new contract shortly before leaving Arsenal.

Martinez left the Gunners in the summer after being with them for ten years. The Argentinian had struggled for first-team opportunities throughout his time at the club.

The goalkeeper made his senior debut for them during the 2012/13 campaign. But between then and the 2018/19 season, he only made 14 appearances for them.

Big Weekend: Everton v Liverpool, Bale, Solskjaer, Milan

But an opportunity opened up for him last season, as Bernd Leno suffered an injury in June that kept him out for the rest of the season.

Martinez made 23 appearances for Arsenal last season, which included nine outings in the Premier League. He took this opportunity with both hands as he shone for the Gunners during the run-in.

The 28-year-old played a key role as they finished the season strongly to lift the FA Cup for a record-breaking 14th time.

With Leno returning from injury, Martinez’s position at the club was up in the air. He was desperate to start games every week, which led to him joining Aston Villa for £20m this summer.

Martinez recently spoke with AS about his decision to leave Arsenal. The ‘keeper said that Gunners boss Mikel Arteta was keen to keep him at the club:

“Arteta is a great coach. I knew him as a teammate and he will be one of the world’s great coaches in a few years.

“He said he had two number ones, that he didn’t know who was going to play [and] didn’t know who was going to start the league because we were both at a great level. I had finished well and Leno had been injured playing well.

“[Arteta] didn’t know who was going to be number one. And, faced with that doubt after winning two titles, I decided to leave the club after so many years.

“It was my decision. Arteta wanted to retain me. He even offered me a new contract and, for that, I was super grateful to him and to the club. But my decision had already been made.”