Aston Villa will not clash in the transfer market this summer.
Obviously keen not to sit back and admire the fantastic work on his side last season, Dean Smith has wasted time strengthening his squad in an effort to improve on his solid 11th place from the 2020/21 campaign.
Emiliano Martinez has transformed Villas backline / Visionhaus / Getty Images
Having already averted competition from Arsenal to secure the signing of talented midfielder Emi Buendia, Villans now want to pursue Bayer Leverkusen’s Leon Bailey and Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham.
The fact that Smith is concentrating all his efforts on increasing his attack options speaks volumes about how happy he is with his side’s backline, and the man at the heart of Villa’s vicious back guard is Emi Martinez.
The recently announced Copa America winner has been one of the main reasons for Villa’s rapid transformation from Premier League fighters to a side that can beat any team in their day.
90 minutes recently revealed that Villa are desperate to tie Martinez to a long-term deal after he emerged as a target for a European top side, and if they secure his future, it will be the best deal they make all summer.
Aside from the addition of Matty Cash last summer, Villa Four were back exactly the same in the 2019/20 campaign when they scraped to safety on the final day at West Ham as last season.
However, they would concede a full 21 goals less – surely a right-back can not have such a big impact, right? Right, he can not, but surely a new goalkeeper can.
Emiliano Martinez celebrates his Copa America victory with Lionel Messi / Gustavo Pagano / Getty Images
Martinez’s £ 20million move from Arsenal has completely changed Smith’s backline, and suddenly players like Tyrone Mings – who can, let’s be honest, look a bit lost at times – have a goalkeeper behind them who scolds orders and organizes defense.
Of course, there have been other factors such as the continued development of Ezri Konsa, but the impact Martinez has had on Villa’s side as a whole cannot be underestimated.
Villa have not been afraid to splash cash in recent years, but their business model has been based on signing good players who can be improved, and such as Ollie Watkins and the aforementioned Cash are both the best examples of such.
Neither of them was signed on the cheap, but both could be sold for the double price that Villa paid if they chose to divorce this summer, and Martinez is probably the best example of the party.
Emiliano Martinez’s performances have helped improve Villa’s entire defense / Marc Atkins / Getty Images
£ 20m for a second-choice goalkeeper who had spent his entire career, either playing second fiddle to bad Arsenal stoppers or kicking around in the lower leagues seemed like ridiculous money, but once again Villa’s scouting system came to trump and were selling the Argentina international now they would receive at least twice as much as they paid.
What makes Martinez’s career before he moved to Villa Park even more astonishing is that every time he got the chance to impress, he did just that.
Whenever he was asked to step up for Arsenal, he played well and in his various loan spells with teams such as Rotherham and Reading, he was superb, but Arsenal just seemed determined not to get his chance.
Still not that Villa cares about it.
Dean Smith is anxious to secure the future of his goalkeeper / Sebastian Frej / MB Media / Getty Images
It may have taken until he was 28 years old to establish himself as number one, but Martinez has finally cemented his place in a starting XI and he is part of a club full of ambition.
We do not care if Villa announces Abrahams and Bailey’s acquisitions tomorrow, if they tie Martinez to a long-term deal and make sure he will play the best years of his career at Villa Park, it will undoubtedly be the best deal they do this summer.