Arsenal: Emiliano Martinez sends emotional message to fans
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Arsenal technical director Edu is set for further questions by supporters over his suitability for the role at the Emirates. That is because reports say Arsenal ‘bitterly regret’ the sale of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa last summer. It is one of a number of transfer mistakes Edu has made since his appointment in 2019.
Arsenal have recorded back-to-back eighth-placed finishes in the Premier League since former midfielder Edu returned to the club in a non-playing capacity.
Putting that into context, it is Arsenal’s two lowest finishes in the top flight since the 1994/95 campaign.
Arsenal are only heading in one direction under Edu and something has to change fast.
When he was appointed, Arsenal had come off the back of a season where they narrowly missed out on Champions League qualification.
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Unai Emery’s side fell away at the end of the 2018/19 campaign to miss out on the top four by one point, before losing in the Europa League final to Chelsea.
But two years on since then, Arsenal have never been further away from competing in Europe’s elite club competition.
And the regret over Martinez’s sale just adds to the list of strange decisions the club have made in recent years.
And the worst thing about the goalkeeper’s departure was that everyone could see the regret coming.
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Martinez had been third-choice goalkeeper for the majority of his 10 years at Arsenal and had to go out on loan on several occasions for regular football.
But for the final few months of the 2019/20 campaign he was given a chance to prove his worth following an injury suffered by Bernd Leno.
The Argentine grabbed that chance with both hands and really staked a claim for a long-term run as the club’s No 1.
Martinez turned 28 at the beginning of this season, heading into his peak years as a goalkeeper.
But because Mikel Arteta could not guarantee him to be the first-choice week in, week out he saw it fit to leave.
Arsenal caved in and sold to Aston Villa for £20million, which looks an absolute snip following his first year at the club.
Leno, meanwhile, has had arguably his worst season at Arsenal and has been linked with a move away from the club.
The Sun explain Arsenal’s regret at Martinez’s sale, with the goalkeeper surely doubling his price tag with his performances for Villa.
But it isn’t the only decision Edu has got wrong – just look at Willian.
Signing a player who was soon turning 32 on a three-year deal isn’t good business on the face of it, and so it proved this season.
Edu’s first summer in charge saw Arsenal spend a club-record £72m on Nicolas Pepe.
Fans were excited at the winger’s arrival but the need for improvement was far greater in other areas of the pitch.
To rub salt into the wounds, Willian kept Pepe out of the team for the majority of the first-half of this season when it was clear the Ivory Coast star just needed a run of games.
Pepe started to prove his quality at the back-end of the campaign but it does not hide the fact the £72m would have been better spent in other areas two summers ago.
Arteta must take part of the blame for Martinez’s departure, by not guaranteeing him a spot, as well as playing Willian ahead of the likes of Pepe.
However, Edu has got a lot of making up to do and must ensure he gets his transfer business right this summer, whether in or out.
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