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Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has sensationally claimed that he never actually wanted to join former club Arsenal - insisting that he only made the move for the sake of his family.
The Argentine, who is currently back in South America on international duty, has been reflecting upon his decade-long spell with the Gunners.
Martinez arrived at the Emirates in 2010 from Independiente, leaving behind his family at the age of just 17.
He would then have to wait until the second half of the decade to find regular first team football for the club, paving the way for an eventual move to Aston Villa in 2020.
His path to becoming an established Premier League keeper was far from straight forward, as Martinez was sent out on loan to Oxford, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, Wolves, Gefate and Reading by his parent club.
However, his story might have been very different, had it not been for Martinez's desire to support his family all those years ago.
According to the man himself, he would have preferred to have stayed in Argentina for a while longer in order to further his goalkeeping development.
"Arsenal came to look for me and Pepe Santoro [a coach at Independiente] told me that the train only passes once in a lifetime," the Argentina international told Spanish publication El Pais.
"My family and my agents thought the same. So, the decision was more for them than anything else.
"I didn't want to go. I did not regret it, but I wanted to play in Independiente. For a while, I thought: 'If I stayed, in two years I will make my debut.' My family] lacked a little financially. I did it more for that than sports."
A decade after that initial move to England, Martinez was transferred to Aston Villa for around £20m.
It was regarded as an appropriate reward for the 29-year-old's hard work and patience, who otherwise might have remained Arsenal's second choice keeper behind Bernd Leno.
In the 2020/21 season, Martinez was one of only a handful of Villa players to have featured in all 38 Premier League games.
Words by Tom Fenton.
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