Gabby Agbonlahor has revealed his initial shock at Aston Villa shelling out a potential £20million to prise Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Villa star explained how he has gone from sceptical to won-over after watching him settle in to Dean Smith’s side.
Martinez has been an ever-present in the team that has won five of their seven Premier League matches this season and headed into the international break sixth in the table and only three points off the leaders.
Villa confirmed the signing of Martinez in September after Football Insider revealed that a bid of £17million rising to £20m with add-ons bid had been accepted by the Gunners.
“I was quite shocked when it when it was done, the transfer,” Agbonlahor told Football Insider. “I was like: ‘Ugh, we could use that money somewhere else, you know, got a couple of okay keepers but I don’t think people realise that what a top keeper does to you.
“I mean like, maybe 10 years ago when I was playing it was like: ’The keeper will be alright as long as he can do a couple saves,’ spend the money on an attacker.
“But with Martinez it’s like the way he can play up on the ball. I’ve seen some balls rapped into him and his control, his playing from the back, he’s composed and that’s a big thing in football now so I think the price we’ve got him is a steal because there’s a lot of clubs in the Premier League that would love to have him in their team.
“Some of the saves he’s been making have been like outrageous and for me Aston Villa have needed a keeper with authority. And, you know, he’s a he’s a big guy as well.”
Martinez made 23 appearances for the Gunners last season and impressed not only with his shot-stopping and command of his box but also his distribution from the back.
Arsenal decided to let him go after Mikel Arteta plumped for Bernd Leno to be his number one this season.