By ’Tayo Amosu
August 15, 2014
Arsenal Youth goal keeper, who was in goal for the North London club in the 5-1 victory over Benfica at the Emirates Cup, Damien Martinez, has been promoted and announced a senior team goalkeeper for Arsenal and given the squad number 26.
The 21-year-old Argentinean joined the Gunners in 2010 and since then has been on the development path with a loan spell at Oxford United in 2012 and Championship side, Sheffield Wednesday in the 2013/2014 season, where he made 11 league appearances.
This summer, Martinez was called upon, in the absence of injured Colombian David Ospina, to deputize for first choice Wojciech Szczesny, in the 3-0 FA Community Shield win against Premier League Champions, Manchester City.
Arsenal, this summer saw the departure of two senior team goal keepers who served as the second and third choices last term.
While Emiliano Viviano returned to parent club, Palermo in the Italian Serie A after a season long loan at the Emirates, Lukas Fabianski, the impressive shot stopper who was in goal for the Gunners throughout the 2014 FA Cup success, switched to Swansea City on a permanent deal.
Swiftly, Arsene Wenger, after the 2014 FIFA World Cup, brought in the Colombia national team number one goal keeper, David Ospina from OGC Nice in the French Ligue 1.
David Ospina, whose move to Arsenal was reported to have been worth between £3m and £3.5m with a £60,000 weekly wage, was expected to compete for the number one goalkeeper’s spot with young Pole Wojciech Szczesny. Ospina however got injured in training ahead of the 5-1 Emirates Cup victory over Benfica, paving the way for the young Argentinean, Damien Martinez.
Ospina became Arsenal’s third signing in a summer that has seen the club splashing some cash to get World Class Stars in Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona, Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle and youngster Calum Chambers from Southampton which brought the summer spending of the North London club, to between £60m and £65m.
However, the third choice spot for the goal keeping position at the Emirates was still open and the rumour mills had news of Arsenal’s interest in world class Real Madrid goal keeper, Iker Casillas.
Many fans got excited by the prospect of Casillas joining Arsenal but others were sceptical as Casillas was said to be itching for a move away because of limited playing time.
The sceptics argued that Casillas wouldn’t want to come to Arsenal if he is not assured of the first team spot and Wenger does not seem like he would lose faith in Szczesny anytime soon. With this promotion for Damien Martinez, the sceptical fans would have been proven right by Wenger because this arrangement means no other goal keeper would come in for Arsenal this term.
The 6 feet 4 inches tall player, Damien Martinez at 21-year-old, has been on the substitute bench and appeared in some Capital One (League) Cup for the Arsenal senior team a couple of times before he got this official promotion.
He also has been called up to the Argentina senior squad once, to replace Oscar Ustari to face Nigeria national side, the Super Eagles in June 2011.