Tag Archives: emiliano martinez

Arsenal set for busy week of sales

This could be the week we start to see Arsenal make big moves in the transfer market.

So far, the business Arsenal have done has been quietly efficient.

Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari have both had their loan deals made permanent, whilst Willian was also recruited on a free – 3 experienced campaigners.

The club also re-loaned Dani Ceballos and signed Gabriel Magalhaes.

On first impressions, Willian has added some busyness and creativity in the final 3rd, whilst Gabriel put in a commanding performance at centre back.

But Arsenal need to sell.

We still have 18 non-home grown players in the first team squad – and 32 players in it.

This means Arsenal need to sell before they buy, both to bring down the non-home grown quota and to reduce the squad size generally.

Emiliano Martinez will be the first out of the door. His transfer to Aston Villa is all but done (and will probably be completed by the time we hit publish!).

Martinez does not solve the squad problems however, before:

  • He will need to be replaced and;
  • He is home grown

Arsenal have been linked with both David Raya of Brentford and Runar Alex Runarsson from Dijon. Interestingly both keepers have previously worked with Inaki Cana; Arsenal’s goalkeeping coach.

Raya would be the preference as he is home grown having joined Blackburn at 17. Having a non-home grown 2nd choice goalkeeper feels like a waste of a slot, especially as we already have one too many.

This week should also be the week when Lucas Torreira and Sokratis make their moves to Italy.

The 3 players (Torreira, Martinez & Sokratis) should raise close to £50million between them. By the time Arsenal use some of the money to buy a new keeper, it should leave the club with at least £40million cash surplus to make moves.

Sokratis and Torreira leaving will also give Arsenal 1 non-home grown slot – although this could get taken up by Runarsson if he joins.

If we do see a home grown keeper join, expect Arsenal to quickly reinvest those funds into a new midfielder – my gut says Houssem Aouar rather than Thomas Partey.

Further signings will then depend on further departures.

Talk about Edouard from Celtic intensified over the weekend, but you can only see him coming in if Alex Lacazette is sold.

Likewise Thomas Partey.

With Matteo Guendouzi back in first team training, there is a school of thought that he will return to Mikel Arteta’s plans.

He has a friendship with Aouar which could be good for both players, and he would play a similar role to Partey on the right side of a midfield 3 – given the role to drive the ball forward at his feet.

With Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos, Guendouzi, Aouar (potentially), Elneny and Joe Willock, it makes most sense that Partey would replace Matteo.

The 3 likely out this week will not be the only ones to leave Arsenal.

That will still leave Arsenal with a 30 man first team squad once we have signed a replacement goal keeper.

The club will still expect to move on Sead Kolasinac, Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers. That would drop us down to a 27 man squad, and also get us within the non-home grown player limit. 27 is a number Arteta could cope with.

It is going to be a busy week…

Keenos

New Manager, New Goalkeeper, Renewed Hope over The Arsenal

Yesterday was a gay old day for Arsenal.

We awoke to the Adidas video. If this was not enough to warm the cockles of your heart ahead of the season, you might be best of sitting it out.

It is only this morning as I post the video back up that I realise it was a promotion video for the 3rd kit.

The video had its desired affect, and 98% of the fan base is now buzzing for Saturday. The less said about the 2% the better.

Then at 9pm last night, Arsenal dropped the news that Mikel Arteta had been promoted to manager.

This is a promotion of huge significance, and shows Arteta has the backing of the senior leadership team and board at Arsenal.

From head coach to manager means Arteta will now be involved in all aspects of the first team, not just the coaching. He will be more heavily involved in transfer, in building his own scouting team. Building the team in his mind. Not just coaching another mans vision.

Excellent news for those who do not like a Director of Football running the club.

At around the same time as the Arteta news was breaking, the Independent broke that Emi Martinez was set to join Aston Villa for around £15million.

The fee does feel a little light, but as it stands no other club is coming in for him.

With just 2 years on his contract to go, and Emi refusing to sign a new deal unless he had “guarantees of first team football”, Arsenal had 3 choices:

  1. Give Emi want he wants – Make him Arsenal number 1 after just 9 Premier League games. Casting aside Bernd Leno, one of our most consistent performers of the last 2 years. This would see Arsenal favour a 28-year-old keeper with just 15 top flight games under his over one with 300 games. It would be a huge risk.
  2. Risk Emi running down his contract – Tell Martinez that he will start the season as number one, but that he is not guaranteed that position. It is then a fair fight between Martinez and Leno for that number 1 shirt. This then risks Martinez dropping down to number 2, not signing a new deal and Arsenal selling for £5-6million next summer.
  3. Sell Emi – Even at £15million, Martinez is at the most valuable he has ever been at Arsenal. Last summer he was on the verge of a move back to Spain for about £3-4million. 9 league games on and Arsenal are trebling that. Sell, reinvest in someone cheaper, make Leno number one and have some cash left over.

And ultimately it is number 3 that seems to be happening.

Martinez wants first team football. He is 28-years-old now, in his peak years as a goal keeper. His 10 year career at Arsenal had giving him very little to shout about prior to this season.

A handful of games for The Arsenal and 6 loan deals taking from Oxford to Getafe, Wolverhampton, Rotherham, Sheffield and Reading.

For the first time in his career, he is in charge of his own destiny. He can choose whether to stay in London, compete for number 1 at Arsenal, or move to a club of his choosing and be undisputed number 1.

Life as a 2nd choice goal keeper is hard. You train hard, day in day out, only to sit on the bench for much of your career. Steve Harper famously went 6 seasons at Newcastle playing a total of 7 Premier League games.

In total, Harper was an unused substitute over 300 times!

Martinez wants first team football, and Arsenal should not step in his way.

Arsenal have reportedly enquired about David Raya as a replacement.

Raya is currently Brentford’s number 1, and played every game of the season in 2019/20 winning the Championship’s Golden Glove award.

Like Martinez, he is a foreign born, home-grown player; having been born in Barcelona but joining Blackburn at 17.

If Martinez leaves, Arsenal have no option but to replace him with a home grown player.

We currently have 18 non-home grown players, and with our remaining transfer targets being Ghanaian and French, that number could well become 20. We are only allowed 17.

So before even considering replacing Martinez, we already need to sell at least 3 non-home grown players to make space for 2 incoming. Signing a non-home grown 2nd choice keeper would just feel like a waste of a spot.

Once it is established that Arsenal will need a home grown keeper to replace Martinez, the list becomes a lot smaller. Tom Heaton of Aston Villa or Fraser Forster at Southampton would be two potential options. But both have suffered with injuries recently and would very much be a short term solution.

Joe Hart could have been in there, but he has joined Tottenham.

We are not going to spend big on someone like Nick Pope or Jack Butland, and neither would probably want to leave their current clubs to sit on the bench for Arsenal.

In Raya, Arsenal would be signing a 25-year-old keeper that is home grown, previously worked with Arsenal goal keeping coach Inaki Cana and set-piece specialist Andreas Georgson at Brentford and has played over 280 games in England.

Raya ticks a lot of boxes, and would cost significantly less than what we would receive for Martinez. That in turns raises funds to continue improving elsewhere on the pitch.

For those who might say “he is only 6ft”, Brentford had the best record in defending set pieces last year. You do not do that if you do not have a goal keeper who can not command his box.

A final thought of the day: If you are sitting moaning about Arsenal’s transfer activity this summer, labelling the club unambitious, go through your own Tweets first. Wanting to sell Aubameyang and sign Ryan Fraser is onot exactly showing ambition.

Have a good Friday. The Arsenal return tomorrow.

PS: Just wish Adidas would learn it is “The Arsenal”.

Keenos

Arsenal star should stay and fight for his place

The aftermath of the FA Cup was an emotional time for Emiliano Martinez. Having waited patiently for ten years to become Arsenal’s starting goalkeeper, Martinez was overcome with emotion as he sat on the Wembley sideline, FA Cup winners’ medal around his neck, video calling his family in Argentina.

Following six different loans over seven years, the Argentine excelled in goal towards the end of last season after being called up to replace the injured Bernd Leno. His assured performances have put him firmly in contention to be the Gunners’ number one for the 2020/21 campaign, even if Martinez has since revealed interest from “ten teams in Europe”.

Rewind to 20 June and that horrific loss away to Brighton. It was an ugly day that went badly wrong for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal. One that could be summed up by the ghastly injury suffered by Bernd Leno as he clashed awkwardly with Neal Maupay. The initial news did not look good, with Leno initially feared to be out for six months with a damaged ACL. The one player Arteta needed to back up a shaky defence was lost for the season.

Step forward, Emiliano Martinez. Many fans had forgotten his name, but he was determined to make sure they remembered it. Having outlasted Wojiech Szczesny, Petr Cech and David Ospina, to name a few, the 27-year-old was focused on making the number one spot his own.

What followed was completely unexpected. Martinez didn’t just do what was required of him as a stand-in replacement, he excelled to such a degree that he was arguably the best goalkeeper in the post-lockdown Premier League. Stunning saves against Southampton, Norwich City and his last-minute heroics to secure a win at home to Liverpool have underlined have cemented his status as Arsenal’s second quality keeping option.

After waiting a decade to prove himself in north London, Martinez has done just that in a matter of months. As a result, it is completely understandable that he may wish to capitalise on the best form of his career with a big-money move elsewhere.

However, if Arteta and his coaching staff are shrewd in their handling of Martinez’s demands for first-team football, there is no reason why he and Leno can’t both be at the club.

Leno should remain the clear starter because, despite his injury, he has been one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the league throughout his first two seasons in England. Having cemented the number one spot, it would be harsh on Leno to take it away from him due to an injury that was out of his control.

Even with Leno as number one, Martinez will get plenty of game time too. As deputy, the Argentine will feature in all of Arsenal’s cup matches over three competitions: the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League. If Martinez wants to play a higher percentage of games that include Premier League fixtures, Arteta could select him for matches of lesser importance against sides in the bottom half of the table. This approach would have the added benefit of protecting Leno from another injury amidst what is going to a packed schedule for 2020/21, whilst of course keeping Martinez satisfied.

Martinez may even be given the starting shirt for the new campaign, with the view of easing Bernd Leno back into action gradually. Although Leno trained at the end of last season, it is not yet clear as to whether he will immediately be match-fit and ready to go.

Any public offers for Martinez from those “ten teams” are yet to be received by Arsenal, so it is entirely feasible that he will stay at the club. If this is the case, then Arteta must approach a delicate situation with innovative methods to ensure that he can keep Leno and Martinez, both worthy of the number one spot, content over the forthcoming campaign.

Zac Campbell