Emiliano Martinez put in another superb display against Watford on Sunday at the Emirates, giving Mikel Arteta a big headache ahead of the new season and reinforcing what Ian Wright had been saying about the keeper.
Martinez has been at Arsenal for a decade now and, while he always looked like a competent keeper, he never looked like he had what was needed to make it as Arsenal’s number one on a permanent basis.
Of course, we didn’t consider the ‘Gerry Peyton’ factor – the one man I hold personally responsible for destroying more keepers than is acceptable.
Since he left, and Martinez received coaching from somebody who actually knew what they were doing, he has been a man transformed. Let’s not forget, it’s not like Bernd Leno was a bit rubbish this season. There’s every argument to be made that he was our player of the season before he picked up his injury.
One thing is for sure, the award goes to the goalkeeping position. It makes me shudder to think where we would have ended up otherwise.
So what does Arteta do next season?
Leno is not going to accept being number two and Martinez has done more than enough to warrant keeping the shirt for the start of the new season.
Wrighty said about Martinez, “What frightens me is you look at someone like Frank and you look at what Chelsea’s doing, you just say to yourself: ‘Do you know something? Can we prise him away?’.
“This is what worries me, simply because you look at what he’s done and how he plays, he is better than Kepa.
“We have got to be very careful with him because if Bernd does come back, he’s now played in a situation where he’s played fantastically, he’s been brilliant, and he’s probably got the taste for that now, so why would you want to go back to being a number two and not playing?”
Still, it’s a much more pleasant dilemma than many of the others Arteta has to try and sort this summer.