Emi Martinez says he had offers to leave Arsenal this summer, but stayed because he was given assurances of more playing time, as well as his belief that he has what it takes to be the number one keeper at the club.
The Argentine’s decision to continue in North London came after an impressive loan spell at Reading last season, and the departure of Petr Cech whose retirement ensured he’d become the cup goalkeeper for the new season.
However, he’s not content with that, and is determined to scrap with current number 1 Bernd Leno for the top job.
Speaking to the Arsenal En América podcast, the 26 year old said, “I had a great season on loan at Reading and had offers to leave Arsenal. I wanted to play, it was going to be my priority.
“After nine years without much rhythm I wanted to leave, but I got the news that I was going to play more games and I decided to stay to try to be number 1.
“I am very prepared. If I didn’t believe myself capable of taking that position, I wouldn’t have stayed.
“Last year Petr Cech began as a starter and Bernd Leno played in the cups. But this year Leno starts number 1 and I’m going to play in those competitions.
“We both play very well with our feet. Our coach tells everyone that we are one more player and told us that we are one of the best keepers who play with the feet he had, that it’s very important for his game system.
“Leno has more professional matches than me, but in qualities I am equal to or better than him.”
You can’t argue with his self-belief, or ambition, and he also expresses his desire to make it to the Argentine national team.
Martinez will get his first run-out of the season when the Gunners travel to Frankfurt for their opening Europa League group stage game next week.