Yesterday, it could hardly go unnoticed in the build up to the game that Emi Martinez was not a part of the team. The announcement that he wouldn’t be traveling with the team came the day before and with it, a feeling of finality.
One of the top stories of the offseason has been how Arsenal are going to fund the funds they need to overhaul the backline and midfield. It became clear that to do that, Arsenal were very likely to be forced into moving on a player or two that may not be the most popular of choices. I wrote about 3 players that epitomized this harsh reality, but since then we have added Hector Bellerin to the list of potentials.
Martinez came into the side as a starter after Leno’s injury and didn’t miss a beat. He was pivotal to Arsenal’s late-season success and saw his value skyrocket. Understandably, he made the request that Arsenal give him guarantees when it came to his role as the official number one, and it wasn’t something Arsenal were willing to do and with an available market willing to meet Arsenal’s price, interest in Emi grew.
Reports have emerged between today and yesterday that Martinez spent Saturday completing a medical in preparation for a move to Aston Villa. That move has now been complete. In a deal that will bring in roughly £20m (16m + add ons), Martinez will end his 10-year time with Arsenal. The exact details will emerge in the coming days.
It’s an extremely bitter sweet moment and, as I predicted, it is a price that many people will not be happy with. He has been a diligent servant of the club, epitomized the hard work and character that every supporter wants to see from their players. To have him end his time with us winning the FA Cup and the Community shield, in the fashion that he did is a happy ending I hope remains long after the tension of not being given the role he wanted fades.