‘Magnificent’: Arsenal told they sold an ‘out of this world’ talent for £20m

Dan Owen

Martin Keown lauded an ‘out of this world’ performance from Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez in the World Cup final while highlighting Arsenal’s decision to let the penalty-saving Argentina hero go for a bargain £20 million, speaking to talkSPORT (19 December, 10am). 

Whether you liked it or not, it certainly worked.

Emiliano Martinez dipped into the dark arts with football’s biggest prize on the line following 120 exhausting minutes at the Lusail Stadium, doing everything within his power to give Argentina the edge during a tense penalty shoot-out. 

Argentina v France: Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

With a World Cup winners’ medal and the Golden Glove now taking pride and place on his mantelpiece, Martinez, perhaps more than anyone else in Lionel Scaloni’s battle-scarred squad, epitomised Argentina’s ‘win at all costs’ mentality. 

‘Angels with Dirty Faces’ indeed.

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez inspires Argentina to World Cup glory in Qatar

“Martinez in goal. His penalty saves, he looked fantastic,” says Keown, a three-time Premier League winner with Arsenal during the Arsene Wenger heyday.

Forget the penalties; was there a better, more dramatic save in the entire World Cup than the one Martinez made to deny Randal Kolo Muani a certain winner in the 123rd minute? Channelling his inner-Peter Schmeichel, Martinez’s remarkable starfish stop will certainly be haunting the Frankfurt forward’s dreams for some time to come. 

“Wonderful save (to keep out Kolo Muani),” Keown adds. “He made a magnificent save in the dying seconds of the match, with his left foot, which was absolutely out of this world. Nobody in Argentina is going to be worried about (his) antics.

“I do feel he’s an outstanding goalkeeper who was allowed to leave Arsenal Football Club.

“Martinez, if you’re an Argentinian fan, you’re loving what he’s doing (in the shoot-out). He is the dominant force. He’s putting his opponent off. He’s a national hero today!” 

According to Martinez’s agent, his future at Aston Villa could soon come into question. The one-time Oxford United loanee is determined to fight for more of the game’s biggest prizes. Martinez also has his heart set on playing regular Champions League football.

“Argentina were the best team,” Gustavo Goni tells TMW. “They showed great unity. And they deservedly won. ‘Dibu’ (Martinez) demonstrated what we thought for some time; that he is a great goalkeeper. The best in the world.” 

“Today there are few teams that can afford a goalkeeper like him. But Serie A? Well, why not? (Martinez is) clearly aiming high, for the Champions League.” 

Arsenal Training Session
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

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