Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez arrived in Europe for the first time when Arsenal signed him from Club Atlético Independiente in 2010.

During his time with the Gunners, the Argentina international spent time away on loan, before he was given regular opportunities in the 2019/20 season. An injury to Bernd Leno allowed the 31-year-old to showcase his qualities at Arsenal.

However, Mikel Arteta wasn’t able to assure the No.1 spot to Martínez and that convinced him to leave the Emirates.

Speaking to L’Equipe, Martínez has admitted the manager wasn’t pleased with his decision to leave Arsenal for Aston Villa in 2020. The goalkeeper has been a regular at Villa Park and that helped him debut for Argentina in 2021.

He has been first-choice for the national team since then and was part of the squad that won the Copa América and the World Cup.

On his exit from Arsenal, the winner of the Yashin Trophy said: “I had a discussion with Mikel Arteta, my coach at Arsenal, and I told him that my dream was to play for the national team and that for that I had to leave.

“He didn’t like it, but he understood, he told me he would give me an exit voucher and Aston Villa took a gamble on me. Thanks to this club, I was able to achieve my goal and this year we are playing in a European cup for the first time in thirteen years. It’s win-win.”

The Villans stopper has insisted his desire to represent La Albiceleste is what convinced him to make a move away from Arsenal.

“It was my dream, my driving force. Although I have to admit that when I was in Spain at 24 and I wasn’t playing, there was a moment when I thought my chance was over. I then considered returning to play in Argentina, at Independiente,” Martínez explained.

“I didn’t know what to do. I was in a bottomless pit and I didn’t know how to get out. Then I saw the light and, when I came out, I knew I was going to get there, that I was going to take off.”

In January 2022, Aston Villa rewarded the South American with a new contract until 2027.