Mikel Arteta Defends Decision to Sell Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa

Mikel Arteta has reiterated that he does not regret the decision to sell goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to Premier League rivals Aston Villa, as his side face Dean Smith's men on Sunday.

Martinez signed a four-year contract with Aston Villa in September in a deal worth up to £20m. The Argentine had only managed 15 appearances for Arsenal since 2012, with nine of those appearances coming last season whilst deputising for an injured Bernd Leno.

Some Arsenal fans had hoped the 28-year old would be given the chance to fight for the number one shirt after some impressive displays last season. However, Arteta found the opportunity to cash in on his backup goalkeeper too good to pass up.

Ahead of Arsenal's meeting with Martinez's new club, Arteta said, via The Daily Mirror: “He was still very willing to get the No.1 shirt and play regularly but we had to give him the choice to decide where he wanted to play.

“He has earned a lot of respect in this country, he has been here for 10 years and with his performances for us in the last few months.

"He believed it was the right club for him so I was happy to let him go and make the right decision for his career. His start there hasn’t surprised me.

“He has become really hungry, really competitive and really clear about what he wanted to do in the next chapter of his career, so I am sure he will be a success."

Tom Heaton's season-ending knee injury last season sparked a goalkeeping crisis at Villa. | Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Martinez has had an impressive start to life at Villa, he saved a penalty in the 1-0 win against Sheffield United on the opening day before keeping a clean sheet in the 3-0 win against Fulham.

He also, largely, kept Liverpool at bay in his side's 7-2 win at Villa Park before a string of saves in the 1-0 win at Leicester.

Dean Smith will hope that he carries on the fine form as his side look to extend their stay in the top flight.

Source : 90min