Arsenal may be looking for defensive upgrades this summer, but with not too much in the way of funds to play with, it seems that they might be forced to do more with less between the sticks in the coming season.
That’s because following David Ospina’s move to Napoli, Argentinian goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez remains as Arsenal’s second-choice ‘keeper after Petr Cech retired from football and returned to Chelsea.
While Arsenal’s hands may be tied in that situation, they may come to rue not having the resources to locate a solid No2 to compete with Bernd Leno – because Martinez has done little to suggest he is of the required standard.
Martinez’s attitude cannot be denied, with the 26-year-old claiming that he has to have a chance of the No1 spot to carry on at Arsenal, which has been his parent club for almost nine years during numerous loan spells.
His most recent stint at Reading was a fairly successful one – helping the club stave off relegation from the Championship – though one can’t help but think he may have found his level in the second tier.
Assuming that Martinez is to be used within the same rotation policy that came before him, Arsenal fans can expect to see him in the cups and Europa League just as Cech was in the previous campaign.
But with Cech standing out in the shambolic defeat to Chelsea in May’s Europa League final, it remains difficult to see how Martinez can make the jump from a struggling Championship side to a team fighting for a European title and deliver the desired results, with limited top-flight experience behind him.
That’s not to say that he is incapable of making the step up, but his career is now at a critical point whereby Arsenal will either be searching for a new backup stopper next summer or crowning a new goalkeeping hero.
But if any dip in quality from Cech to Martinez is to be the difference between obtaining a European title or otherwise, then Arsenal are taking a massive – if not necessary – risk in putting their faith in the goalie who has only amassed 14 senior appearances since joining The Gunners in 2010.
The alternative would be for Emery to trust current No1 Leno to hold the fort throughout the campaign, but with Martinez seemingly hellbent on getting game time – at Arsenal or elsewhere – his faith in this particular No2 could end up defining the destiny of Arsenal’s cup campaigns – but at what cost?