Former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez says he never wanted to join Arsenal ahead of his move in 2010.
The Argentine made the move as a youngster, leaving home country club Independiente for a shot at the Premier League.
It’s a step many players would jump at given the reputation of the Premier League, and indeed a club as big as Arsenal.
But Martinez, who would go on to feature sparingly, only getting a handful of first-team outings in his first nine years at the club, wasn’t convinced the move was the right one for footballing reasons.
Although, for reasons beyond the beautiful game, he felt compelled to make the move.
“Arsenal came to look for me and Pepe Santoro told me that the train only passes once in a lifetime,” Martinez said in an interview with El Pais.
“My family and my agents thought the same. So, the decision was more for them [his family] than anything else.
“I didn’t want to go. I did not regret it, but I wanted to play in Independiente. For a while I thought: “If I stayed, in two years I will make my debut.” I knew I could get to Independiente’s first team. The club trusted the youth team goalkeepers.
“We lacked a little financially. I did it more for that than for sports.”
Martinez was sent out on loan six times during his first nine years at Arsenal and barely saw any game time behind the likes of Petr Cech and Bernd Leno.
But after Leno got injured in the season before last, Martinez seized his chance to climb into the shopping window.
His impressive performances saw him bag a £20million move to Aston Villa, and since then, he has gone on to become a highly-rated Premier League goalkeeper.
So, while the Arsenal move might not have been hugely beneficial to his development given the lack of football he had to put up with, eventually, it did prove to be the platform he needed to get where he needed to be, and you can bet Aston Villa are grateful he took the career path he did.
Martinez was crucial to Villa last season as they achieved a top-half finish in the top flight.