Exclusive: Phillips drops surprise claim as Aston Villa close in on 'Exceptional' signing
Kevin Phillips has claimed that Tom Heaton will remain the number one at Aston Villa even if Emiliano Martinez is signed from Arsenal.
The former England international, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, said that both were “exceptional goalkeepers” and that Martinez “would be a huge boost for them” with Heaton currently sidelined.
Villa boss Dean Smith is in the market for a goalkeeper with club number one Tom Heaton out til October with an ACL injury sustained on New Year’s Day.
Football Insider revealed yesterday that Arsenal keeper Martinez had agreed personal terms on a £75,000-a-week contract at Villa Park ahead of a £20million move including add-ons.
Martinez was left out of Mikel Arteta’s squad that beat Fulham yesterday to further suggest that his exit from the London-club is imminent.
When asked by Football Insider who would be first choice if both were fit and available for selection, Phillips said:
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“It is a tough one. They are both exceptional goalkeepers but I am going to stick with Tom Heaton.
“That is an area that Dean Smith desperately needs to strengthen in. He needs to get someone in.
“Having Tom Heaton out is a big blow so it is an area that they need to sort because it is such an important position. If they can get Martinez in then it would be a huge boost for them.”
Martinez has made 38 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal and earned plaudits for his performances at the end of the 2019/20 campaign in the absence of the injured Bernd Leno.
Orjan Nyland is expected to start Tuesday night’s EFL Cup fixture against Burton Albion with Dean Smith’s side not in Premier League action until Monday 21 September.
In other Aston Villa news, Michael Brown delivers verdict as club agree terms of ‘Important’ signing.