By Villa News Speaking to Dan Bardell

1st Mar, 2023 | 3:10pm

Aston Villa to accept 'big-money' bid for Emiliano Martinez as 'amicable' exit predicted by journalist

Aston Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez capped off a phenomenal few months by being named the best men’s goalkeeper at the FIFA Football awards, but among the celebrations, questions about his future at Villa Park would have been raised.

The Argentine shot-stopper, who scooped up the Golden Glove award at the Qatar World Cup, has fast become the jewel in the crown of Aston Villa – and he has showed no sign of slowing down since returning to the Premier League in the New Year.

Unai Emery’s side picked up a sixth clean sheet of the season with Martinez in between the sticks in their 2-0 win against Everton at the weekend (25 February), with Martinez making four saves, to add to the 57 he has made so far this season. [Sofascore]

The Villa number one’s ability to control his penalty area and inspire confidence in his back-four is second-to-none around European football right now, with his 39 high claims in the Premier League bettered by nobody this term.

Martinez has not just become an influential figure at Aston Villa due to his heroics on the pitch, with his leadership qualities quickly seeing him take up the captaincy armband upon John McGinn picking up a hamstring injury against Spurs last month.

After quickly establishing himself as one of the best keepers, justified speculation has now arisen about whether Martinez will be wearing claret and blue next season or not.

Speaking exclusively to Villa News, The Athletic podcaster and Sky Sports panelist Dan Bardell believes an amicable exit could be on the cards in the summer due to the lack of European football Aston Villa can offer the 30-year-old in the West Midlands.

“If a Champions League club came in with big money, I do think Emi Martinez would want to go and I do think that Villa would accept it,” he said.

“I just think when you’ve won a World Cup and you’re playing with all these unbelievable players, and they’re all playing in European competitions, I think at the very least you would be wanting to play in Europe.

“After being voted the best goalkeeper at a World Cup, I think it is only natural that Martinez will want to play in the Champions League. He’s 30 years old, so realistically during his best years Villa aren’t going to be filling his ambitions.

“If the right team came in with the right money, I think Villa would sell him and I think it would be an amicable split.

“The two problems are that Villa had problems with goalkeepers before Martinez came into the club – you buy someone and you have no guarantees that they will be an adequate replacement – and the second thing is that both Chelsea and Tottenham will probably look at signing a goalkeeper in the summer, so it is going to be hard to keep hold of him.

“I think if Todd Boehly was offered the chance to sign a goalkeeper who won the World Cup, he would want to do it.”

After the 4-2 defeat to Arsenal, Emery publicly criticised Martinez’s “embarrassing” decision to go up for a last-minute corner that allowed Gabriel Martinelli to score on the counter-attack at the other end of the field.

Just days later, the Daily Mail reported (21 February) that Villa would be open to listening to offers for Argentine in the summer and would attempt to broker a deal which would make him one of the world’s most expensive goalkeepers.

The World Cup winner could be the cornerstone of Emery’s new era at Villa Park, but if a Champions League club were to throw the big bucks at Wes Edens and Nassef Sawriris, they might have no choice but to sanction his transfer away from the club.

In other Aston Villa news, this academy player could be the next star in waiting at Bodymoor Heath after back-to-back goals for the Under-23s.