Home » Manchester United have ‘concrete interest’ in Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez

Manchester United have ‘concrete interest’ in Aston Villa’s Emiliano Martinez

Argentina's World Cup hero considered as David de Gea replacement

by David O'Neill

Manchester United have a ‘concrete interest’ in signing Argentina’s World Cup hero Emiliano Martinez from Aston Villa.

The report comes from Football Insider, who claim that the shot-stopper is among the candidates to replace David de Gea.

The Spaniard’s contract is set to run out at the end of the season and while United do have an option to extend the deal by a further twelve months, they are unlikely to exercise it.

De Gea’s £375,000-a-week wages – the highest salary ever paid to a Spanish football, or goalkeeper of any nationality – make such a clause undesirable to the club at this stage.

Instead the Red Devils look set to offer their number one a fresh contract on reduced terms.

Should an agreement be reached between De Gea and United, they are unlikely to sanction a huge outlay for a new goalkeeper, and Martinez would certainly not come cheap.

The Argentine has a contract at Villa Park until 2027 and his value has soared since his €17.4m move from Arsenal.

He has been a consistent performer in the Premier League for the past two and a half seasons, and his exceptional displays for his country during the FIFA World Cup have only increased his considerable value.

But should De Gea decide to move on rather than take whatever pay cut United end up offering him, Erik ten Hag will likely have his pick of goalkeepers.

Martinez is a shot stopper to rival De Gea and his presence would be a huge boost to almost any defence in world football.

He ranks in the top 2% of all keepers in Europe’s ‘Big Five’ leagues for percentage of crosses stopped. De Gea, conversely, is in the bottom 6%.

That could be a key factor in improving Man United’s defence going forward. Ten Hag’s side are still vulnerable to teams that feature crossing threats and will most likely continue to be until De Gea is replaced.

In terms of his distribution, Martinez is superior to De Gea (most goalkeepers are), but it is perhaps notable that the Argentina star rarely does much sweeping, although one might attribute that to the teams he has played for, with both his club and country often defending in low blocks.

At 30 years of age, the Villa keeper still has many good years ahead in which he could well add to his game, although his viability as a transfer target will largely come down to the sort of fee his club would expect.

Reported tensions between Emiliano Martinez and new Aston Villa boss Unai Emery – which dates back to their time together at Arsenal – could grant some leeway in that regard.

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