Mikel Arteta gives inside story of Emiliano Martinez’s Arsenal exit for Aston Villa

Mikel Arteta insists he has no regrets letting Arsenal’s FA Cup hero Emiliano Martinez join Aston Villa in the summer.

The Gunners come face-to-face with their former Argentine keeper this afternoon as they host Dean Smith’s Villains at the Emirates.

Martinez, 28, became a cult figure with Gunners fans towards the end last season when he replaced crocked number one Bernd Leno – and helped the club to a treble dose of Wembley glory.

Firstly, he starred in Arsenal ’s FA Cup shock semi-final and final wins over Manchester City and Chelsea, respectively.

Then he performed heroics in the club’s penalty shoot-out victory over Liverpool in the new campaign’s Community Shield curtain-raiser.

A few days later Martinez was surprisingly sold to Aston Villa for £17million – and has continued his brilliant form with the Midlands club.

Emiliano Martinez was no longer happy sitting on the bench for Arsenal
(Image: Getty)

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Meanwhile, the Gunners’ German stopper Leno has received mixed reviews for some of his displays this term.

But Arteta denies it was a mistake allowing the South American to go – or that he would have preferred him to move abroad rather than to a direct Premier League rival.

The Arsenal boss said: “No, when we sat down, we believed it was the right thing to do.

“Emiliano was still very willing to get the number one shirt and play regularly and we had to give him the choice to decide where he wanted to play.

Emiliano Martinez left for Aston Villa in the summer

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