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Mikel Arteta speaks out about Emi Martinez’s Arsenal future amid Aston Villa transfer links

Arsenal first team manager Mikel Arteta has refused to comment on speculation linking goalkeeper Emi Martinez with a move away from the Emirates.

Martinez was handed a chance in the first team at the end of last season following Bernd Leno’s injury, and subsequently impressed with his performances.

Leno’s return to fitness could hamper the Argentinian’s desire for regular first team football and has seen him linked with an exit from north London.

football.london understands Aston Villa are in pole position to secure Martinez’s signature should he choose to depart, as they can offer him the first team football that he craves at Arsenal.

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The Gunners would ideally like to keep Martinez and are prepared to offer him a new contract that will come with a significant pay rise on his £25,000-a-week salary. However it is not money that motivates the 28-year-old, something Arsenal are acutely aware of.

Speaking ahead of the Gunners’ first Premier League game against Fulham, Arteta was asked about Martinez’s demands for first team football.

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“It’s very difficult to promise game time and it’s part of this period in the market,” Arteta told reporters.

“I cannot stop speculation. I don’t want to comment on any individuals without having the right answers.”

Asked if he had decided on his number one goalkeeper for the weekend, Arteta added: “I don’t treat the goalkeeping position differently to any others.

“Whoever trains better starts. The other one [has] to push him as they did last season.”