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Emiliano Martinez fired up by new challenge at Aston Villa

By Matt Maher | Aston Villa | Published:

New boy Emiliano Martinez claims the desire for a new challenge is what persuaded him to leave Arsenal and join Villa.

Emiliano Martinez of Arsenal. (AMA)

The 28-year-old goalkeeper was yesterday confirmed as the club’s third signing of a transfer window for a fee which could eventually rise to £20million.

Martinez spent a decade with Arsenal, going out on several loan spells – including one season at Wolves – before enjoying his longest run in the team during the closing weeks of last season following an injury to Bernd Leno.

But despite earning rave reviews and helping the Gunners win the FA Cup, boss Mikel Arteta was unable to provide Martinez with any guarantees over first-team football this season.

Villa were quick to step in and offer the Argentine a shot at their No.1 jersey. Martinez is now expected to start Monday’s Premier League opener against Sheffield United, with Tom Heaton still absent with a knee injury.

“I’ve been around in the UK for 10, 11 years already and I know Villa’s history and I know how big Villa is,” he said.

“Obviously I trust the manager, I trust the goalkeeper coach and the club’s ambition. That’s why I decided to come here. I believe the club is going forward.

“I’ve been at Arsenal 10, 11 years fighting for my spot. When I won the FA Cup and the Community Shield, I spoke to my family and said ‘it’s time to have a new challenge’.

“When Aston Villa gave me the opportunity to fight for the spot and play loads of Premier League games, that’s why I decided to come here.

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“I trust the process and I trust the manager’s playing style. I truly believe that we can do a good season at Villa.”

Villa are expected to pay an initial fee of around £16m for Martinez, with another £4m potentially due in add-ons.

“We are really pleased with the signing,” said boss Dean Smith.

“We know how highly Arsenal rated him and we watched his outstanding performances last season in a trophy-winning top side.

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“We moved for Emi when we saw the opportunity, as it is rare to be able to buy a top-class goalkeeper who hasn’t yet reached their peak age and who can therefore be a key player for our club for the long-term.”

Martinez joins striker Ollie Watkins and right-back Matty Cash as Villa’s newest recruits, but the club’s business is far from finished.

Smith remains on course to add Lyon winger Bertrand Traore to his attacking ranks, while a deal for Werder Bremen forward Milot Rashica is still possible.

Matt Maher

By Matt Maher

Chief sports writer for the Express & Star.

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