By Jonty Banks

15th May, 2023 | 10:10am

Emi Martinez still considering Aston Villa future as Chelsea and Manchester United transfer news emerges

Aston Villa could be on the back foot in their attempts to keep hold of Emi Martinez this summer, with cash-rich Chelsea and Manchester United circling for a potential transfer.

The Argentine international stole the headlines at the Qatar World Cup with his penalty shootout heroics in the final, and since then, he has never looked back for Aston Villa.

Under Unai Emery, the 30-year-old has helped the club move from relegation candidates onto the brink of European football with just two games of the season remaining.

However, despite the fine season, The Mirror (12 May) believes that Martinez is still considering his future at Villa Park amid interest from the two Premier League giants.

They wrote: “Despite a public show of faith from United boss Erik ten Hag in David de Gea, the Spaniard is struggling to retain the faith of the club’s fans and could find himself battling to retain his no.1 spot should United move for Martinez.

“Mirror Football understands that signing a new no.1 is set to be one of Mauricio Pochettino’s most pressing priorities once his appointment is officially confirmed – something he has already made clear to the Stamford Bridge hierarchy.”

The Villa number one has previously spoken out on his ambitions to play Champions League football in the future and to be competing for the biggest trophies on the continent.

And although Aston Villa have taken huge strides under Emery this season and could be rewarded with a taste of Europa Conference League action last season, the club are still unlikely to break into the top four within the next few years.

Martinez has proven himself a monumental presence at the heart of Villa’s defence this season, and his dominance of the penalty area has emerged as one of the goalkeeper’s key strengths this season.

According to FBREF, Martinez is in the 99th percentile of goalkeepers in the top-five European leagues for crosses stopped in the last year – 1.58 per 90 minutes at an 11.4% success rate – while also sitting in the top 10% of his counterparts for defensive actions outside the penalty area (1.84 per 90).

Emery is unlikely to find another goalkeeper who is as happy playing the sweeper-keeper role but equally comfortable in possession of the football.

In the 2022/23 Premier League season, the Argentine international has attempted an average of 33.24 passes per game, which is a huge increase on the 22.89 per outing under Steven Gerrard and Dean Smith last season.

The strides that Martinez has taken under the Spaniard’s guidance have been brilliant to witness, however he has now reached a crossroads regarding his Aston Villa future.

With both Manchester United and Chelsea reportedly interested, it is time for the goalkeeper to pledge his colours one way or the other.

In other Aston Villa news, the club should go all guns blazing for a £60million signing that Gabby Agbonlahor named a “superstar”.