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Arteta says £20m player asked him to quit Arsenal

Arsenal come up against a familiar face on Sunday.

Aston Villa are gearing up to visit the Emirates Stadium in what will be Emiliano Martinez’s first game against the Gunners.

Martinez helped Arsenal to an FA Cup title in August after expertly deputising for the injured Bernd Leno throughout Project Restart.

Mikel Arteta and Edu came in for some criticism when they decided to sell the Argentine and stick with Leno as their first-choice keeper this season, even if Villa paid a whopping £20 million for Martinez.

But the Spanish boss has revealed via Arsenal’s official website that it was Martinez who asked if he could leave North London, after some 10 years of service, rather than the club deciding to move him on.

He told a pre-match press conference: “Obviously, it wasn’t in my plans to sell him, but we gave him the chance because he deserved it. He performed really really well but we have to balance the books. When a player asks you to do that I think you have to be open enough and tell him what you think about him. If he makes the decision to leave, you should try to support him because he deserves it for the way he has served the club over the years.”

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