Mikel Arteta says he had no plans to sell Emi Martinez this summer, but made it clear that the keeper’s ambition to be the number one somewhere and stake a claim for the Argentinian national team were things he couldn’t stand in the way of.
The former Gunner returns to the Emirates on Sunday as we face Aston Villa, and from the manager’s comments it was the player’s desire to take the opportunity elsewhere, and the very substantial offer made by the midlands side, that drove the decision making.
Speaking ahead of the game, Arteta said, “He had a career of 10 years here. It wasn’t just the last six or eight months.
“You have to look at everything he did through his time at the club. Obviously, it wasn’t in my plans to sell him, but we gave him the chance because he deserved it.
“He performed really really well but we have to balance the books. We have to make the right choices in the market and obviously, I couldn’t guarantee him to be the number one.
“He’s a very ambitious person, he has been working really hard and he can see now that the opportunity is there. He’s got the opportunity to play with Argentina and when a player asks you to do that I think you have to be open enough and tell him what you think about him.
“If he makes the decision to leave, you should try to support him because he deserves it for the way he has served the club over the years.”
Emi returns a favourite among the fans for his performances and his contribution to the FA Cup win over Chelsea in August, but as much as we like him, we’ll be hoping he has a game to forget on his first return to North London.