A former Premier League player has put Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez on a two-man shortlist for one of Europe’s most famous sides, amid his stunning World Cup performances.
Martinez kept clean sheets against Mexico and Poland in the World Cup group stage for Argentina, helping them bounce back from an opening 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia to finish as Group C winners. Argentina went on to beat Australia 2-1 in the round of 16, before a tense penalty shootout against the Netherlands.
The two teams tied 2-2 after extra time in a game that had pretty much everything. And the shootout was Martinez’s chance to become the hero of his country.
And that’s exactly what the Villa man became when he denied Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis in a 4-3 shootout win for Argentina.
Lionel Messi and co. followed that up with an impressive 3-0 win over Croatia in the last four, which saw them book their place in the final. They face France on Sunday, with football’s biggest prize at stake.
Martinez has been a revelation for Villa since joining them from Arsenal in September 2020. He has had a disappointing season so far, along with most of his Villa teammates, but he will be confident that the World Cup campaign can help with turning his fortunes around.
However, Unai Emery could mix up the club’s goalkeeping options. Reports have linked the Villans with a move for Morocco shot-stopper Yassine Bounouwho is also on Bayern Munich’s radar.
But now the former Liverpool man Didi Hamann reckons that Bayern can grab Martinez. Of course, the German titans need a new goalkeeper after Manuel Neuer’s broken leg.
Aston Villa man could replace Bayern hero
“The serious injury to Manuel Neuer has put Bayern in a very difficult situation that they cannot do anything about,” Hamann wrote in his Sky Sports Germany column.
“Bayern are buying time with a possible (Alexander) Nubel return. I think they need to sign a goalkeeper who is then guaranteed a real chance to stay in goal after Neuer’s return, if he earns it with good performances in the coming months.
“The questions are: Will Neuer come back and if so how? The performances have already not been what they have been recently. He didn’t last well at the World Cup either.
“At 36 and soon to be 37, it is a huge ordeal to slip through months of rehabilitation.
“If the Bayern bosses think they will now get a goalkeeper who has the potential to protect the Bayern goal for years to come, they could also think of Argentina international Emiliano Martinez from Aston Villa or look at the Croatian goalkeeper .”
The Croatian player Hamann mentions is Dominik Livakovic. Like Martinez and Bono, he enjoyed a fantastic World Cup and made several top saves.
Hamann is right that Bayern need a new keeper within the next 12 months. Neuer is in the twilight years of his career, so a top class successor must be found.
Martinez doesn’t really have the Champions League experience that Neuer possesses. But he could probably develop into an excellent goalkeeper in his own right if he went to Bayern.
In the meantime a WC striker ‘favours’ an Arsenal move over Villa, according to reports.
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