Following the opening weeks of the season, there is surely no question that Aston Villa’s deal to sign Emiliano Martinez is already standing out as one of the best pieces of business done anywhere in the Premier League over the summer.
Martinez was superb for Arsenal during the final weeks of last season. And it appeared to be a real coup for Dean Smith’s side when they landed the Argentinian for just £17 million (via BBC Sport).
The 28-year-old is, by no means, the only player who deserves credit for Villa’s amazing start to the campaign. But there is no doubt that he has been outstanding.
And his penalty save in their opening game against Sheffield United certainly set the tone. Villa have conceded just two goals in their opening four fixtures. No rival comes close to that kind of record at this stage.
After years either out on loan or as a backup at Arsenal, Martinez is unlikely to struggle for motivation now that he is first choice at Villa.
But perhaps, it could also be suggested that he could actually summon additional motivation to impress in the Villans’ next game – which comes against Leeds United this Friday.
That is because Leeds were one of the other sides linked with the stopper over the summer. As reported by the Daily Mail back in August, the Whites were monitoring his situation at the Emirates.
‘Bielsa is a great coach’
And Martinez confirmed in an interview with MARCA Claro in August that no-one would want to face Leeds in the top flight following their promotion.
“Nobody wants to play against that team in the Premier (League),” he stated. “They do not stop running, they are well structured, Bielsa is a great coach, he prepares each game against each rival, Leeds will be a surprise in the Premier.”
Ultimately however, Martinez headed elsewhere.
It looks to be a move that has worked out well for the goalkeeper. And it may well be that the links with Leeds could not be further from his mind when he takes to the field on Friday.
But perhaps, there is a chance that coming up against a manager who did show interest in the summer may push Martinez even further to try and ensure that he keeps another clean sheet for the Villans.