The Gunners legend has been impressed by the Argentine custodian since he stepped into Mikel Arteta’s side, with exit talk now being sparked
Emiliano Martinez could emerge as a target for Chelsea, says Ian Wright, who thinks the Arsenal goalkeeper has shown since stepping into Bernd Leno’s shoes that he is a capable No.1 and arguably a better option between the sticks than Kepa Arrizabalaga.
The Gunners found themselves having to make a change in a vital position when their first-choice shot-stopper suffered an unfortunate injury at Brighton on June 20.
Mikel Arteta had little choice but to turn to back-up Martinez, who had just six Premier League appearances to his name across 10 years in north London.
The Argentine has picked up much of his senior experience out on loan, but slipped seamlessly into the high-profile post when called upon by Arsenal.
He has helped the Gunners into the FA Cup final and to six wins in the English top-flight, with his stock rising to the point that he may now be offered a regular role away from Emirates Stadium.
Wright fears that will be the case, with the Arsenal legend thinking Chelsea will be casting admiring glances in the direction of their London neighbour as they seek to find a suitable replacement for Kepa.
“When you go to a No.2, the first thing you do is worry because you think: ‘Has he had enough games? Will he be able to deal with the pressure?’,” Wright said on the Kelly & Wrighty Show.
“Obviously there’s no fans there, but everybody spoke about Emi and how good he is, but I didn’t realise how good he was because I didn’t see enough of him.
“I saw him in some cup games but he’s commanding, he makes great saves, he’s good on the ground, he’s got everything for a No.2.
“The thing that frightens me now with him is that when Bernd Leno does come back and he is fit, why would he want to continue as a No.2 when he’s played to this level being a No.1? He will surely want to go and be a No 1 now.”
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Wright added: “What frightens me is you look at someone like Frank [Lampard] and you look at what Chelsea’s doing, you just say to yourself: ‘Do you know something? Can we prise him away?’.
“This is what worries me, simply because you look at what he’s done and how he plays, he is better than Kepa now. I think he’s probably better than Bernd Leno if I’m going to be totally honest, from what I’ve seen. I’d be gutted [if Martinez left].
“To be honest I don’t want Bernd to go but what I’m saying about [Martinez] is we’ve got to be very careful with him because if Bernd does come back, he’s now played in a situation where he’s played fantastically, he’s been brilliant, and he’s probably got the taste for that now, so why would you want to go back to being a No.2 and not playing?”