Atletico Madrid are reportedly considering Emiliano Martinez as a potential successor to Jan Oblak.
The Argentina international was on the fringes of the Arsenal first team for several years before earning his breakthrough in 2020 when Bernd Leno suffered a knee injury.
Martinez played an integral role in Arsenal’s run to the FA Cup final – starting against Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-finals and final respectively – but he proceeded to leave not long after.
Mikel Arteta could not guarantee that the 30-year-old would be instilled as the club’s number one when Leno was back fit, and he ultimately secured a £15.6m move to Aston Villa.
Martinez has kept 27 clean sheets in 83 outings for Villa to establish himself as Argentina’s first-choice shot-stopper, and he signed an extension at Villa Park until 2027 back in January.
However, Villa’s difficult start to the season has led to uncertainty surrounding Martinez’s long-term future, and The Mirror claims that Atletico are keeping a close eye on the situation.
Diego Simeone has enjoyed the luxury of having Oblak as his number one for the past eight years since being signed from Benfica in 2014, but he is out of contract in the summer.
Oblak has supposedly given no indication that he would be willing to extend his stay at the Wanda Metropolitano and could therefore be sold in January before he becomes a free agent.
Villa would do their utmost to avoid losing Martinez halfway through the season, but the pull of playing in the Champions League may be too tempting for the ex-Arsenal man to ignore.
Should Oblak ultimately end his wholly successful stint in Madrid, Manchester United are rumoured to be keeping an eye on his situation, with David de Gea also out of contract next summer.
The Slovenia international has garnered a reputation as one of Europe’s top goalkeepers while at Atletico, coming up with 177 clean sheets in 360 appearances for Simeone’s side.
Oblak has won one La Liga title, one Europa League crown, one Copa del Rey and one Supercopa de Espana in the Spanish capital and was named Atletico’s player of the year in their title-winning 2020-21 campaign.
The 29-year-old has come up with two clean sheets in five La Liga matches this term, with Atletico taking 10 points from their opening six games to sit seventh in the table.
Meanwhile, Martinez has only recorded one shut-out from seven Premier League appearances, as Steven Gerrard‘s men occupy 15th spot with seven points to their name,
The Argentina international has admitted to having sleepless nights during the early stages of the season, with Villa only picking up two wins so far.