Former Gunners keeper traded Emirates for Villa Park in £ 20million summer deal
It was Martinez’s fourth clean sheet in seven games this season and his outing this summer remains a source of frustration for many Arsenal fans, who believe the club should have done more to make him stay.
But speaking after Sunday night’s game, Martinez opened his decision to leave after more than 10 years in north London and revealed he was determined to move on, having been unable to overtake Bernd Leno in the pecking order at Arsenal despite his superb form during the closing months of last season when he stepped in for the injured German striker.
” I told him [Arteta] I wanted to play week after week and he couldn’t guarantee who was going to start, ”said the 28-year-old.
“Even before the Community Shield he didn’t know who was going to play in goal. After 10 years at the club, I didn’t want to wait until Friday night, the day before the game, to find out if I was going to play against Fulham [on the opening weekend] or not.
“So I just texted him to tell him I was going to Aston Villa, so help me and let me go.” ”
Martinez traveled to Birmingham as Arsenal beat Fulham at Craven Cottage on the opening weekend of the Premier League campaign and completed his move to Villa Park shortly thereafter.
The popular keeper insists he has no hard feelings for not ousting Leno in the battle against No.1 Arsenal and thanked Arteta for allowing him to leave when the opportunity presented itself.
“He was very honest and very open with me,” said the goalkeeper. “He helped me leave the club after so many years.
“Obviously I have ambitions and he couldn’t help ambitions that I wanted, so we had a clear conversation. He is a very honest man and a great leader.
“I’ve already said how grateful I am for this and how happy I am with his performance at Arsenal. I’m so glad he’s the leader of the club.
Martinez added: “When I decided to come to Villa it was because I trusted the manager and the ambitions of the club, and I knew how great Villa was.
“Some people don’t realize how big Aston Villa is. They all said it was a step back in my career, but I always said it was a step forward.
“They called me on the first day after the victory against Chelsea in the FA Cup final.
“I just wanted to play first-team football and Arsenal couldn’t guarantee that. They weren’t saying I was going to play the first game of the season against Fulham, so when I had that doubt I had to leave. And Villa was the first and only option for me.