Emiliano Martinez has confirmed his departure from Arsenal in an emotional message posted on his official Instagram page.
Martinez is heading for Aston Villa, who secured their Premier League status on the final day of last season, in a £20m deal, having excelled between the sticks after Arsenal’s regular number one Bernd Leno suffered a knee injury.
The Argentine spent 11 years at the club – often serving as their third-choice shot-stopper – and enjoyed loan spells at six different clubs, including Reading, Sheffield Wednesday and Wolves.
Although his move to the Midlands is yet to be made official, Martinez’s Instagram farewell video – titled ‘Thank you @arsenal’ has all but confirmed his exit.
“I always had that feeling that I would have my chance here at Arsenal, that season after season I was always trying to come back to the club I love to have my chance,” the Argentine said.
The 28-year-old started Arsenal’s final eight Premier League games last season, keeping three clean sheets, and was a mainstay in their FA Cup triumph under Mikel Arteta.
Speaking about his impending departure, Martinez added: “For me, I could not be happier to leave through the front door with the Arsenal fanbase supporting me and the club supporting me.
“I had 11 years at the club, and even if it was a hard road for me, and I suffered through my time at Arsenal, today I am happy and I tried to show young goalies how work pays off.
“They all understood at Arsenal and they support me for my decision. The Arsenal fanbase were always there for me, I felt their love. Even when Bernd got injured this season, I received loads of messages like ‘we trust in you,’ ‘you are our goalie’.
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“That made me confident, made me win games and made me the keeper I am today. They understood my story and they love the way I worked in the club. I am so glad to be part of the Arsenal family for 11 years.”