Emi Martinez has left Arsenal after his £20 million ($25m) transfer to Aston Villa was confirmed on Wednesday, Goal.com reports.
Villa confirmed that Martinez has joined on a four-year contract, and it is expected that the Argentina international will serve as their first-choice keeper this season as they look to avoid another relegation dogfight, having only stayed up on the final day in 2019-20.
Manager Dean Smith said: “We are really pleased with the signing of our new goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. We know how highly Arsenal rated him and we watched his outstanding performances last season in a trophy-winning top side.
🟣 #WelcomeEmi 🟣
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) September 16, 2020
“We moved for Emi when we saw the opportunity, as it is rare to be able to 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.”
He said: “I had 11 years at the club, and even if it was a hard road for me, and I suffered through my time at Arsenal, today I am happy and I tried to show young goalies how work pays off. When you work hard, you are not going to be happy the whole time, you are going to have frustration, bad times in life.
“They all understood at Arsenal and they support me for my decision. The Arsenal fanbase were always there for me, I felt their love.
He made a total of 39 appearances for Arsenal, in between loans at six clubs – Oxford United, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United, Wolves, Getafe and Reading.