Emiliano Martinez has thanked Mikel Arteta and Arsenal for allowing him to leave the club and says they completely respected his request for guaranteed first-team minutes elsewhere.
But with Arteta restoring Bernd Leno as his number one keeper for the new season, Martinez knew he needed to leave the Emirates and completed a £20million move to Aston Villa on Wednesday.
While Martinez leaves with a heavy heart he feels he needs guaranteed game time to secure his place as Argentina’s first-choice goalkeeper and says Arteta and Arsenal’s hierarchy were happy to grant his wish.
Speaking to Arsenal’s website, he said: ‘I think I won three FA Cups, three Community Shields [before last season], but actually I wasn’t part of the team, I wasn’t getting the minutes that I needed.
‘So I never felt that I won it. I was part of the team, but I never felt like it was mine. And I had to go on loan after loan after loan to come back and have a chance to become the keeper I am today.
‘But they understood my decision and they respected it. And that’s Arsenal, you know. When you give everything for the club they will respect you.
‘So I am grateful to be the player I am and the person I am. I came here as a young boy, single, from Argentina, from a poor country, a poor family. And I’m leaving with a wife, with a kid, and as a man. And everything is because of Arsenal as well.’
He added: ‘I just want to say to the fans that they should trust the process, they are doing really good work with Mikel and his staff and I wish them all the best.’