Martinez: My future can wait, now it’s time to win the FA Cup

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Emi Martinez has revealed his agent has already asked where he sees himself playing his football next season but he’s parking the conversation until after the FA Cup final.

Having joined the club a decade ago, the Argentine finally has his shot at winning silverware in Arsenal colours.

After six spells out on loan and watching countless keepers come and go, the 27-year-old finally moved up the keeper pecking order last summer to become back-up to number one Bernd Leno. While a move in the right direction, he’s again had to be patient this season, making do with game time in the League Cup and Europa League group stages in the period up to Christmas.

When Mikel Arteta picked Leno to play against Olympiakos, it looked like the writing might be on the wall for the player, but solid performances in the FA Cup were laying the foundations for a stunning end to the domestic campaign.

Since replacing Leno, who picked up a knee injury in our second game back after lockdown, Martinez has arguably been the club’s most eye-catching and consistent performer. Could he take over from the German? Is he an asset worth cashing in on? Both questions have been raised by supporters in the last few weeks.

For the moment, we’re all hoping he can maintain his standards for one final game of a very long campaign. Ahead of the trip to Wembley, Martinez was in a confident and bullish mood.

“I don’t think anyone wants to be a second goalkeeper,” he said. “Especially if you believe so much in yourself.

“My agent called me the other day and said: ‘How do you feel, what do you think about next season?’

“I said I don’t want to talk about next season. I have a contract with Arsenal. I need to play in the final and have my mind clear.

“Whatever happens in the final and next season, it happens. It’s football. I can go anywhere but I have a two-year contract left in my Arsenal career. Let me win that trophy and ask the question again.

“Hard work pays off and now is the time. Now is my time. I have been fighting 10 years to win trophies, not just to reach a final.”

Like so many footballers, Emi’s rise to the top has been built on the sacrifices of those around him. He even remembers watching his parents forego meals so that there was enough food for him and his brother to eat. He’s desperate to pay them back, especially as he subsequently left home very young to follow his dream.

“It was a bit emotional [when the final whistle went in the semi-final],” Martinez said.

“Not because we beat City, who for me are one of the best teams in Europe right now, but more because of how much I have been fighting to play in a final with the club I love.

“It has been 10 years since I joined the club and at the final whistle everything goes through your head. I wish the fans and my family would be here for the final, obviously with 90,000 or 80,000 people in Wembley, something you don’t play every day.

“I wish my whole family was there [on Saturday]. Like I said, we came from a poor, poor family and for them to see me there winning a trophy in front of 90,000 people and getting a medal would be something.

He added: “I remember for my Champions League debut against Anderlecht, [my Dad] flew 27 hours to reach that game and he was crying all 95 minutes!”

“I am so far away from home. Because of lockdown, I have not seen my mum and dad for a year. It will be tough, but I will be thinking about them when I play.

“I remember the day that me and my brother ate and not my mum and dad. So I know exactly what they’ve been through. I was living in Buenos Aires and I would only see them twice a month, when I travelled, because they couldn’t afford the petrol to go and see me. So I know what they did for me to reach the top where I am now.”

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Frank

Fair play to the lad, can only wish the very best for someone who’s gone through everything he has and come out on top. Honestly so torn between who I’d rather keep as number 1 between him and Leno now, which is amazing given that I think Leno was our best player for the pre lockdown part of the season

Arteta's Secret Lover

If your WHY is huge enough, your HOW will take care of itself.
Sending you lots of love and hugs from Buenos Aires.

GraeB

I always liked what little we saw of Emi before this year. He is a shot-stopper, big enough to take crosses, holds onto shots rather than palming away and seems to have improved positionally; I also think he looks more likely to save penalties.

I think he has earned the right to remain number one and for Leno to have to work as hard at getting back.

VAR will solve the problem

I say we shouldn’t rush into making a decision this transfer window regarding GK. We should make a decision after next season. If he can keep his place as number 1 next season, we can sell Leno to Bayern Munich. If Leno gets his position back that would mean Leno is better suited for Arsenal and Emi will have to accept being 2nd choice. And if he wants to move on, his value would still be higher than what it would have been pre covid-19. I like Emi, such a humble guy…and I like Leno too, does his job with… Read more »

Qwaliteee

Top post, well said. And having said that, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the club tried to off load one of them in the next few months, such is the moronic way this fucking infuriating club that we all love so much, conducts it business.

Scott P

While there are many questionable decisions this club has made, I don’t think selling one of our GK’s would be one of them. Maybe it wouldn’t be ideal or work out the way we want, but it wouldn’t rise to the level of ‘moronic’.

Ben EagerBeaver

Exactly my thoughts. Keep both, try as much to keep them happy. I reckon at this moment anyone of them between the sticks gives us confidence.

gooner

We could play both at the same time. One stays on the goal line and the other patrols the 18 yard box, probably drop one striker. Tactical masterclass that would win us everything.

I am sure FIFA will understand that every club needs to play it’s best players in the starting 11

David C

I don’t think we make the decision this summer. Let Leno and Emi fight over it next season and whoever plays better stays as number 1.

Nketibag

Amazing story
This guy’s a keeper

barking

Pun intended.

Chakravo

For sure! He had a goal and kept at it.

YaGunnersYa

He scored with that one

Safe Hands

This is a really difficult situation to know what to do with, for both club and player. He’s been a brilliant player for the last 10 games or so, and no one can fault his attitude for the whole time he’s been at the club. But if a big offer came in you would think the club would have to consider it in order to get some funds for elsewhere. However, in an ideal situation he would be going nowhere. From a glass half full perspective, both he and the club wouldn’t have expected this 3 months ago. He now… Read more »

Parlour’s Pay Packer

He’s come in a seized his opportunity wonderfully and he seems like a lovely lad but I have to question the ambition of a guy willing to be number 2 or even 3 for so many years. I think we should sell whilst his stock is high, I don’t think it’s getting any higher. I can’t believe he’s been this good all along and NO ONE in the coaching staff noticed.

mjc1892

Players really can’t win can they- itching to leave they’re disloyal, spend a decade battling to play for us and they lack ambition!

Artetas Assistant

Well said

FMT

Well said man!

Kaimba

Exactly my thoughts

Wilshere’s Middle Finger

Why wouldn’t he stay and fight for the no.1 spot at Arsenal for as long as he could, one of the best clubs in the world? If that’s not ambition I don’t know what is.

TheNicolau15

Or maybe he’s a very determined lad who wanted so badly to prove people like you wrong, and prove to himself that he was able to make it at the top club which signed him.

This for me could be viewed as real ambition. To leave Arsenal because you’re not playing and spend the rest of your career at the Championship or even in mid table clubs would not be seen as a extremely successful career.

The Kolkata Gooner

It sounds a bit crass given the nature of the above interview, and I would love to see him become an Arsenal legend, but what do you guys think would be an ideal price for Martinez?

Artetas Assistant

With one season of his level of performance (plus improvement) , he’s the kind of guy people easily fork out over 60 for

Safe Hands

Yeah that’s a difficult one. I was thinking this myself. Would it be mad to be thinking £25 million +?

Vonnie'

Double it and you might be closer, but I’d rather we sold Leno.

Kostas

The prons of Martinez is his taller and stronger. Also maybe he counts as homegrown. On the other hand Leno’s experience is incredible.

Wiltoooooooooord !!!

Hard work pays off .. top lad … Top attitude ..
Let’s win this
COYG !

Twatsloch

What a great substitute he’s been for us!

Tankard Gooner

Such a humbling story, for everyone out there who’s got the odds stacked against them.
Well Emi, as much as we’d love for you to stay, even if you decide to go somewhere else in search of more regular game time, I’m sure you’ve written yourself into all our hearts with the performances you’ve been putting in this season. You’re a gunner through and through.
If our management has any class, they should be doing everything possible to ensure someone from his family is there at Wembley on Saturday.
Now go and win that cup Emi!

Vonnie

No family or friends allowed. You’d think that in a stadium the size of Wembley they’d be able to fit a few in wouldn’t you, especially as there are no fans. Love Emi and hope he wins the first of many trophies for Arsenal tomorrow.

Naked Cygan

Only thing missing from this guy is a David Seaman mustache and ponytail, and Leno should grow the Lehman curles and start pissing behind the advertising boards. Just like the good old day…

Artetas Assistant

Does Leno have that pronounced crazy (which great goalies all seem to need) in him though
If Martinez wasn’t such a good lad (plus football/opinion is more refined), you can tell he could whip out and take that piss .

allezkev

He’s looked almost serene since he took over in goal whilst some of his saves have been top top quality but it’s his confidence, it’s seems to spread to all his defenders and even if there’s a mistake they just laugh it off, reboot and go again, no dramatics. I think he’s been excellent for us since he came in and I wouldn’t want Arteta’s job of choosing who to go with next season because I doubt that we’ll go into 2020/21 with both of them in situ. One will get the No.1 spot and the other will probably leave?

Flying Dutchman

He exudes confidence and I think it transmits to those ahead of him. He has the right size, stature and attitude and he commands from crosses. Leno has been good but, for me, he’s our number one.

Bamzee Blaze

I have said it before, we need not have purchased Leno. He already had all these qualities but just needed a chance to prove them. I will not be surprised if he benches Leno eventually. Something about his mental fortitude. I also think he is the better goalie of the two. There is a certain way he dominates the six yard box. Not to take anything away from Leno though. He is a great goalie as well and very experienced but he does have concentration lapses now and then.

mongmong

Emi came through the ranks. If we think he’s as good as Leno, then it’s a no brainer we should keep Emi. He has Arsenal running through his veins. Leno’s is proven quality so he should be easier to sell at a higher price. It might seem cold but we need the funds and Leno should see a salary bump as well, so a win win.

Artetas Assistant

Absolutely Mongmong. People who’d so easily consider selling Leno over Emi don’t seem to understand BLOOD 🩸. Blood is so important and to have a Monster like Emi (small sample size but he’s been gunning at Lenos spot publicly all season) as blood is simply priceless.

Doghouse

Why sell, to bring in who ? We are Arsenal, two top players in one position should be are aim, ok we still need to shift players not worthy of our shirt but let’s keep Martinez

Richard

Emi’s done very-very well and he has the English bonus on his value (for a domestic transfer) because he has the homegrown stamp on him, which incidentally is very valuable for us as well. I’d definitely keep and let him continue as number 1 until loss of form or injury, that’s how it works with goalkeepers. His salary is on the low side as well. Leno can win his place back or can be sold, finding a number 2 is a problem we’ll have to solve anyways.

Hurensohn

He’s been really good but we are only looking at 15 games or so. Naturally you look for faults and there are occasions where he comes off his line too quickly, that can be improved upon far easier than a technical flaw or lack of natural ability.

He’s been at least on par with Leno and given that Neuer is 35 and his form has been on and off of late we might have an obvious ‘Bayer’ for Leno.

Artetas Assistant

You have solved this problem !

Wilshere’s Middle Finger

A straight swap for Gnabry maybe?!?!? Get on it Raul/Kia.

Mentalista

70m and it’s on

djourou's nutmeg

i’ll always prefer a homegrown player to a foreign one, especially if we’re talking about leno, because even when he’s a fantastic player, he’s always stoke me as a very cold person. at times i feel like he’s just working for us and not really putting his heart, somewhat like ozil but actually trying and playing well. still, as it has always been, fans are too easily impressed: it’s just a month since emi started playing regularly for us and people already want us to sell leno (a proven goalkeeper with several good seasons under his belt and international appearances).… Read more »

Dave cee

Total props to the guy, he has stuck around and worked hard, and when his chance finally arrived his has grabbed it with both hands. Very very impressed with his calm authority and his shot stopping. As for next season, I.m glad it is not my decision. Both keepers have earned the opportunity to start as our #1. I actually hope we can retain both of them, it will probably depend on their willingness to compete with each other and what the market threws up by way of offers. I think Martinez counts as homegrown which could be a big… Read more »

Jib

So much love to Emi and his story

BFC

Agree! There is so little to choose between them. But for me, Emi’s story swings it in his favour and I would keep him.

As much as I love Leno, I would be tempted to see how much we might get for him and, if a healthy profit, move him on to get some extra transfer funds.

K9ine

He has glue in his gloves. Doesn’t parry needlessly like Leno which to me is his greatest attribute.
He is number one for me and will only get better with more game time.
And he is Home Grown

Daz Righ

Let’s go a vote @Blogs

Which kept do people think should be number 1?

uberated

I’ve always loved how his huge frame dominates the area like that oblak fellow at Athletico. He is not very vocal but players are left in no doubt who is in charge. He is too good to be backup

Kassim koyo

Yes, you’re going to FA CUP final, I hope that your father would be there even if he is not, mikell arteta is a good coach, and you’re the best goalkeeper to me and very interested in Arsenal..I wish you all the best tomorrow and you gonna win it

Qwaliteee

I think this situation is a gift – and for once, it would be nice for Arsenal Football Club to take what Lady Luck has bestowed upon us. I would certainly keep them both until at least the end of next season and enjoy the luxury of having two top ‘keepers. A few weeks ago when Leno was injured, we were all wondering about how we were going to ‘buy in’ a replacement. Now that that question has been eliminated, let’s just hold our horses before handing in our good fortune at the roulette wheel and selling one of them… Read more »

karl

If only we could accommodate Leno and Emi in the same team. Both of them look at least as good with their feet as any of our defenders.

Chinus

We should keep Martinez as our #1 and Iliev our #2. This would mean offloading Leno.

Doghouse

He has certainly proved himself, it would be sad to see him go but you couldn’t fault him for doing so, a humble guy from a difficult upbringing who’s given us 10 years of service, his comments on Lenos injury says it all, strong in all areas of keeping and a better keeper than Leno when distributing and playing out from the back as we don’t get so caught out now, can see an offer from Italy/Spanish league side coming soon..

Ben EagerBeaver

I’ll rather we keep both. Let’s not tow the path of RVP (Seven years on the injury table then one good season and he’s off). I reckon selling Emi would be akin to that.

Teryima Adi

It’s your time to shine, Bro– you were born for such a time as this.