Arsenal have reluctantly decided to sell Emiliano Martinez and will now continue talks with Aston Villa, who are expected to make an improvement on their £15m offer for the goalkeeper.
Despite a series of discussions between Martinez and head coach Mikel Arteta, the Argentine has been given no clear assurances over being the club’s long-term No 1, with Bernd Leno in line to start Arsenal’s season-opening fixture against Fulham on Saturday.
The Independent understands that Martinez has already agreed personal terms with Villa on a four-year contract, worth in the region of £60,000 per week.
Dean Smith’s side are Martinez’s first choice as he wants to remain in the Premier League, despite firm interest from Villarreal in Spain.
Martinez has recently rejected a significantly improved contract offer from Arsenal as he has always insisted that playing time is his priority.
Arsenal value Martinez at £20m, and will now continue negotiations with Villa over the 28-year-old, with a fee yet to be agreed.
Despite Arteta wanting Martinez to stay at Arsenal and fight for the No 1 spot, the departure will help to fund further incomings, with the club’s interest in Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey long-publicised.
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