There have been some top class goalkeepers at Arsenal over the years. Currently Petr Cech dons the gloves, but before that we have seen Jens Lehman, David Seaman, Pat Jennings, even Bob Wilson and John Lukic would get a mention.
Now we have another world class keeper to add to that list. Not Wojciech Szczesny, not David Ospina, not even Vince Bartram, but one Emiliano Martinez.
I am always a little taken aback when I hear Arsene Wenger explaining how he has three world class keepers at the club. I understand the importance of boosting a player’s confidence but surely even Martinez must be sat there thinking, really?
Martinez must have something about him, as he signed a long term deal in November last year which is due to run out in 2022.
Wenger, as we know, is a massive fan and has made it clear that Martinez is the future goalkeeper for the club. At 24 years old, he is still young for a keeper so time is certainly on his side. You look at all the top clubs around Europe and those really successful teams have always had a world class shot stopper.
Last season Martinez was loaned out to Wolverhampton and he appeared 15 times for the Championship team keeping 5 clean sheets in the process. To be fair, he didn’t let anyone down and looked accomplished in what he needed to do. Unfortunately for the young Argentinian his spell was cut short after injuring his thigh.
What is it that Wenger is seeing on the training ground that made him turn down offers for the 3rd choice shot stopper?
Well, at 6’4 Martinez has a big presence in the penalty area. He has lightning reflexes and looks a good shot stopper too. He maybe slightly flamboyant, but then you see that a lot with South American keepers. His distribution is very good too, and for a big man he is able to get back up from the ground very quickly. His double save for Wolves against Brighton was excellent.
As for world class, personally I feel there is a long way to go, but if he continues to learn from Cech and Ospina as well as the Arsenal coaches then he may well have the potential to replace Cech when he decides to hang up his gloves. If that was next season I may feel concerned, but perhaps with a loan spell with a Premier League team or a top Championship team before he is thrust into the number one role, Martinez would be well placed the season after next. A loan spell at a higher profile club would be a good chance to see how Martinez handles the pressure.
I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how Martinez will progress in the next 12 months. Let’s hope he turns into the keeper Wenger believes he will become.