Emiliano Martinez has moved a step closer to leaving Arsenal after being left out of the matchday squad that takes on Fulham, while he is at odds with the club over a massive bonus he believes he is owed.
The Argentine shot-stopper gave a string of superb displays after the restart last season but Mikel Arteta has opted to restore Bernd Leno as his number one after the German recovered from injury.
With Martinez not given any assurances over his playing time, he has sought a move away from the club so he can get regular minutes, with Aston Villa having lodged a £15million bid.
Although Arteta had tried to play down talk of Martinez leaving before facing Fulham, even suggesting he was in contention to play, the 28-year-old did not make the matchday squad on Saturday or even travel to Craven Cottage.
Martinez is believed to have already agreed personal terms with Villa, though Dean Smith’s side need to up their offer to get closer to Arsenal’s £20m valuation.
Asked about Martinez’s absence, Arteta told BT Sport shortly before the game: ‘We have a special situation in goal. The transfer market is open. We know rumours. We made the decision to play Bernd today.’
Now The Athletic report there is another twist in the sage, with Martinez believing he is owned a seven-figure bonus by the club.
Martinez and his representatives say the club committed to retroactively paying him a bonus once he signed a new deal and wants Arsenal to uphold that agreement even if he leaves to join Villa.
The shot-stopper’s agent, Lucas Martinez Quarta, confirmed his desire to leave to TyC Sports, saying: ‘The most likely scenario is that Emi Martinez leaves Arsenal because he wants to play.
‘He dreams of being the starting goalkeeper for the national team and he is willing to leave his home [at Arsenal] for the worthy cause of being Argentina’s number one.’