Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has opened up on his delight at capturing Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.
Villa have completed a £17m move for the 28-year old, who lifted the FA Cup with the Gunners last season.
Commenting on the keeper’s arrival, Smith said: “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 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.”
However, it’s clear that Smith isn’t the only one to have been left impressed by Martinez, who has earned positive reviews from many of his previous managers.
Here’s a quick rundown on just a few of them.
Mikel Arteta before Arsenal’s Community Shield win over Liverpool earlier this season
“In terms of Emi’s character and his goalkeeping ability, I didn’t have any question marks.
“The way he trains every day, behaves and has been behaving since he’s been at the club is phenomenal.
“He was a question mark over how he was going to do because he didn’t have any Premier League experience and how he can deal with that game after game, and he’s shown that he’s more than ready to do it.
“He’s earned his place now, he’s doing really well and he’s playing with a lot of confidence.
“In key moments he’s been really helpful and he needs to continue to do that. It’s a marathon, a long run, and a football club like this demands that every day you’re at that level. That’s why he needs to keep going.”
Jose Gomes after Reading’s 0-0 draw with Sheffield Wednesday in February 2019
“Emi is helping the team and he did a great save today. He’s doing a good job and hopefully he will keep doing that.”
Jose Gomes after bringing Martinez to Reading on a loan in January 2019
“I am delighted we have been able to attract a goalkeeper of Emi’s undoubted ability to Reading. He will provide excellent competition for the goalkeeper’s position and adds quality to our group. I look forward to working with him on the training ground for the first time.”
Arsene Wenger after a League Cup win over Reading in 2016
“If we stay in all the competitions, it’s not too difficult [to give everyone enough minutes].
“And that’s a positive of qualifying tonight.
“For example, we have three top class goalkeepers, because you see Emi Martinez as well. But as long as we are in this competition, he obviously gets his game so they have a focus, something to focus on.”
Wolves boss Kenny Jackett after Martinez’s Man of the Match display in the 2-1 defeat to Bolton in 2015
“I went for Emi and he showed the very good goalkeeper he is.
“I was very pleased with him, that’ll give him a lot of confidence and I have confidence in him and Carl Ikeme to do the job.”