Martinez reveals Arteta comment which led to Arsenal exit

Joe Williams
Emiliano Martinez Mikel Arteta Arsenal

Emiliano Martinez claims Mikel Arteta told him he had a 95 per cent chance of starting the new Premier League season in net for Arsenal.

Martinez was superb as he filled in for the injured Bernd Leno last season, and has since made a £17million move to Aston Villa, keeping two clean sheets in his opening three games.

There had been rumours over the summer that Martinez would have to leave to find regular football and, after being left out of the Gunners’ first match of the season against Fulham, the Argentinian left to join Villa four days later.

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“I thought if I played well that game (against Liverpool), I would be No.1, but afterwards it still wasn’t clear who was going to start in the league,” Martinez told The Independent.

“I was told that there was a 95 per cent chance I would start against Fulham [on the first day of the season], but I just thought, ‘why not 100 per cent?’ Something didn’t feel right. Everyone wanted me to stay, but that’s when I decided to go.

“I wasn’t upset or emotional, I was proud I did it. When I arrived at Arsenal [in 2010], there were nine goalkeepers in front of me. Every year I had to prove myself, but I left as No 1. That was my story done there.

“The following morning I texted Mikel [Arteta] and told him. I thanked him, I said I won these trophies because of the way he trained, the way he changed the team. I trust his process so much, he is incredible. [When he was a player], I always thought he was different.

“It’s like with [Lionel] Messi, I don’t see him as a top player, I see him as a top coach. He’s got so much to prove and I wish him all the best. I will always love everyone at Arsenal, I will always be grateful, but it was time to say goodbye.”