Soccer

Ian Wright admits he was "devastated" by Arsenal transfer decision

Ian Wright admits he was "devastated" when he saw Emiliano Martinez swap Arsenal for Aston Villa in the summer.

The goalkeeper has rarely featured during a lengthy spell in north London and was regularly loaned out.

But he stepped up impressively once Bernd Leno was injured following football's return in the summer.

Martinez remained Arsenal's first choice goalkeeper for the remainder of the season and became an FA Cup winner.

But it became clear, despite his quality performances, that he wasn't going to usurp Leno under Mikel Arteta.

In pursuit of more minutes and international recognition he headed for Villa in a £17m deal.

And Wright was sad to see the Argentine leave but understood he reasons to seeking pastures new.

He said on Match of the Day: "I was devastated to see him leave Arsenal, but he wants to be Argentina number one.

"He has five clean sheets from nine Premier League games and he is just a very good goalkeeper.

"He has done brilliantly at Villa and he is helping them to win games."

Martinez's Villa started the season impressively and they currently find themselves above the Gunners.

Dean Smith spend heavily after he managed to secure his side's top flight status last season.

And the goalkeeper is adamant that he took a step forwards – not backwards – by moving to Villa Park.

“Some people do not realise how big  Aston Villa  are," said Martinez.

“They were all saying it was a step down in my career but I always said it was a step up.

“When I decided to come to Villa it was because I trusted the manager and the club’s ambitions.

“We are going to have a really good season hopefully,  and keep fighting in every game for every ball.

"Hopefully we can finish in the top ten.”

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