By Jonty Banks

27th Apr, 2023 | 5:10pm

Emi Martinez drops biggest hint yet on Aston Villa future and admits to Argentinian transfer chase

There has been plenty of speculation surrounding the future of Emi Martinez at Aston Villa, but the goalkeeper has dropped potentially the biggest hint of where his footballing future lies.

The Argentinian has been one of Aston Villa’s standout players over the last 18 months and especially in the club’s revolution under Unai Emery that has seen them climb to fifth in the Premier League table.

Since winning the Golden Glove with Argentina at the Qatar World Cup, Martinez has recorded nine clean sheets from 18 Premier League outings.

Football Insider reported in February that the shot-stopper was a target for European giants Atletico Madrid, Inter Miland and Juventus in the summer transfer window.

However, speaking to Behind The Game for the Premier League’s YouTube channel, the 30-year-old has dropped his biggest hint yet that he will be remaining at Villa Park beyond the end of the season.

“Aston Villa, it’s a massive club,” he said (26 April). “I’m proud of playing for Aston Villa, you know. I’m really proud.

“Staying or leaving? I love it here. I feel so good at Villa.

“I’m trying to bring friends to Villa, the Argentinians.”

If Emery manages to secure European football this season, it will certainly go a long way to keeping Martinez at Villa Park and potentially attracting further top-quality players to the West Midlands.

There is no doubt that if Villa are to target a regular top-six future under their Spanish manager, keeping Martinez will be crucial.

According to the Opta-powered stats at FBREF, Martinez is among Europe’s elite in several statistical departments.

Over the last year, the goalkeeper has been in the 99th percentile for crosses stopped, as well as sitting in the top 25% of his counterparts for defensive actions outside the penalty area (1.43 per 90) and goals conceded (1.09 per 90).

Martinez has also managed to record more saves (83) than the likes of Hugo Lloris (79), David de Gea (77) and Kepa Arrizabalaga (73) this term.

The World Cup winner also looks to be perfectly suited to Emery’s needs, remaining happy to pass out from the back since the Spaniard’s arrival.

Over the last ten games in which the Villa number one has completed 90 minutes, he has completed over 40 passes on nine occasions – a major increase on the 1/10 times he recorded this number under Steven Gerrard earlier this campaign. [WhoScored]

It is evident that Martinez is a pivotal figure within the walls of Villa Park, and hopefully, his latest remark means he will donning the claret and blue strip next season.

In other Aston Villa news, concerns about Ollie Watkins have been examined by a BBC Sport pundit.