Martinez had often been on the peripheral of the first team but made the step up to first choice keeper following an injury to Bernd Leno in an away fixture at Brighton.
The Argentine impressed in his spell as first choice, and part of the side which won the FA Cup and Community Shield. Martinez made no qualms about his desire to be the Gunners number one but was not given assurances that he would be able to achieve this at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal legend and former goalkeeper David Seaman admitted to talkSPORT that he was ‘annoyed’ by the clubs’ decision. “We’ve just sold the goalkeeper (Martinez) as well which was a little bit puzzling for me. He had a great end of last season and started this season really well,”
Martinez had been at the club for 10 years, during that time he was loaned out to six different clubs, and only making 38 senior appearances for Arsenal. “I wanted two great goalkeepers at Arsenal because it means they bring the best out of each other, but he wants to be a number one and I think that’s what has decided it.”
A reported transfer fee of £20million could end up being shrewd transfer business by Mikel Arteta. Martinez signed for Arsenal in 2010, for £1.35million, and his sale will bolster the clubs transfer fund in more crucial areas. “It was something that I thought Arsenal would keep hold of him because he showed what he could do. The fact he went to Villa it did annoy me.
Arsenal have been heavily linked with Iceland goalkeeper Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson from French club Dijon, who would come in as an immediate replacement for the departing Martinez. His arrival would in theory cost the club nothing, with the reported fee equal to that which Arsenal received for Sam Greenwood, a promising youth striker who joined Leeds United.
The sale of Martinez shouldn’t worry Arsenal fans despite his strong end of season form, particularly considering Leno’s importance to the team before his injury, with a number of fans praising the German, even considering him to be player of the year, who would certainly have claimed his starting place back regardless of Martinez’s form. If Arsenal are able to bring in Thomas Partey or Houssem Aouar or both with the reinvestment of the Martinez sale, this could end up being a very successful transfer window.