By Harry Sykes
Arsene Wenger has identified Emiliano Martinez as the long-term successor to Petr Cech at Arsenal.
The Gunners manager hailed Argentine Martinez as “the future goalkeeper at this club” after it was announced on Thursday that he had signed a new deal.
Arsenal announced on their official website that the 24-year-old has penned a “long-term” agreement with the club to extend an association that began when he was 18.
Martinez joined the London club’s academy in 2010 and has progressed through the ranks to make 10 senior appearances.
The young goalkeeper is behind established number one Cech and Colombian David Ospina in the Arsenal pecking order but Wenger is convinced he will eventually be a first-team regular.
“If you look at him, I personally see all the top qualities that a goalkeeper needs,” Wenger told the official Arsenal website.
“He has the stature, he has the passion, he has the technical quality, he has the decision-making, he has huge power and he’s not frightened of anything.
“I remember a game at Anderlecht in the Champions League – it was a decisive game where he saved us. In the League Cup, every time he plays, he does extremely well. I am very happy that he committed, because I think he is the future goalkeeper at this club.”
Martinez has played the entire 90 minutes of both of Arsenal’s League Cup matches against Nottingham Forest and Reading this season, which they won convincingly to reach the quarter-finals of the competition.
But Cech, who has been outstanding since joining from Chelsea for £11million in the summer of 2015, remains the undisputed first-choice keeper at the club and has started all 12 of the Gunners’ Premier League matches this season.
Ospina has started each of the club’s five Champions League games, with Martinez yet to make the matchday squad in 2016-17 in either of the premier two competitions.
In other Arsenal team news, these are the team’s player ratings for the 2-2 draw against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday night.