When I first hopped on the internet today, I saw several British sites buzzing with a rumor about Villarreal seeking Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal. I believe I have tracked this rumor to its original source in Estadio Deportivo, which basically doesn’t say much beyond that Villarreal has contacted Arsenal about the player.
Realistically, we will probably be linked with Arsenal players for the next calendar year. It’s just the way things work when a manager switches jobs. Like the Rui Silva links from a couple weeks ago, though, this rumor doesn’t make much sense to me.
The idea behind this rumor is that Martinez doesn’t want to have to battle Bernd Leno at Arsenal for the starting job. That makes sense to me, Martinez is a solid keeper. But then why would he come to Villarreal where he would have to battle with Sergio Asenjo for playing time? That doesn’t check out to me at all.
Further, Arsenal is likely to demand up around ten million for the 28 year old, and I don’t see why we would do that either. If he were in his early 20s, and could be seen as the logical successor to Asenjo in net, okay maybe. But at 28, even if Asenjo fades in the next couple of years Martinez is likely to fade shortly thereafter.
From a metrics standpoint, Martinez had a wonderful year last year. These numbers are a combination of his play in the Premier League and the Europa League, the latter of which really boosted his cross stopping numbers. I know it’s easy to see that shot stopping number on top and be wowed but let’s remember, this is still a very small sample size, especially in terms of Premier League minutes (771 to be exact). Those Europa minutes were against Eintracht Frankfurt, Standard Liege, and Vitoria. Frankfurt is good but I don’t really see Liege or Vitoria as opposition to get reliable metrics from as compared to a La Liga standard.
I think in all likelihood this is a rumor concocted out of convenience. Three true things: that Villarreal need a keeper, Arsenal need to move a keeper, and Villarreal have Arsenal’s former manager, have combined to create a lot more smoke in the media than actually exists. I don’t expect this move to happen. All we need is a backup for Asenjo, and I don’t see us spending this kind of money to do that.