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Garth Crooks suggests Aston Villa player will have to leave, if they fail to qualify for Europe

Garth Crooks has claimed in his BBC Sport Team Of The Week column that Emi Martinez might need to leave Aston Villa, if Dean Smith fails to turn his side in to a Champions League club.

Villa, who finished in a struggling 17th place last season and survived by the skin of their teeth, have vastly improved their performances this season. They are strong defensively, but also exciting on the attack.

Work in the transfer window has been excellent despite the pandemic, bringing in Martinez from Arsenal. Matty Cash, Ollie Watkins, Bertrand Traore and now Morgan Sanson have all been excellent signings for the Midlands club.

Despite the enormous improvement, Crooks has claimed that 28-year-old Martinez should consider leaving Villa if Smith cannot turn Villa into a top-four side. They currently sit in eighth position in the Premier League, six off fourth-placed Chelsea.

“The Argentine is looking every bit a top-four keeper and if he can’t achieve it with Villa I suggest he does it with someone else,” Crooks said, including uncapped Argentine Martinez in his TOTW after another excellent display against Brighton.

(Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)

TBR’s view – Crooks claim is bizarre, but there might be interest

Villa are not going to finish in the top four, realistically. They have a shot at the top six, but they would need to put together a real string of excellent results and ultimately, the good money is on a top-half finish – which would be excellent progression.

Crooks is right to say that Martinez is showing the quality of a top-four goalkeeper. Jack Grealish, Ezri Konsa and others are also showing that form. But to leave Villa if they fail to finish in the fop four is wrong.

Martinez has endured a difficult career at Arsenal and is only just getting the praise he deserves. Staying at Villa makes sense and if they can go one better next season, then Europe is on the cards. Who knows, though, there might be top-four interest.

(Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

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