Aston Villa have signed Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal for around £20m.
Martinez, who has signed a four-year contract, impressed at the end of last season standing in for the injured Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal, and will fill the void left by Villa’s No1 Tom Heaton, who is out with a knee injury with no clear date set for his return.
“We are really pleased with the signing of our new goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez,” said manager Dean Smith. “We know how highly Arsenal rated him and we watched his outstanding performances last season in a trophy-winning top side.
“We moved for Emi when we saw the opportunity, as it is rare to be able tot buy a top-class goalkeeper who hasn’t yet reached their peak age and who can therefore be a key player for our club for the long term.”
Martinez ends a 10-year association with Arsenal by following Matty Cash and Ollie Watkins in making big-money moves to Villa Park.
He was signed by the Gunners from Independiente in 2010, making 39 first-team appearances as well as spending time on loan at six clubs – Oxford, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, Wolves, Getafe and Reading.
“Thank you, thank you for all of the years (of support),” Martinez told Arsenal.com. “I thank God for having the opportunity over the past few months to show the Arsenal fanbase what I am made of, and why I went on loan so many times.
“It was always to come back and win them trophies and give them silverware. I did it, I feel prouder than ever.
“They made me as a goalkeeper; not just the club, not just my goalkeeping coaches but the fans as well because they supported me, gave me the confidence to perform as well and I wish them all the best and hope they win many, many trophies. Thank you. That’s all I can say.”
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