Arsenal have allowed Argentinian goalkeeper Damian Martinez to join Championship side Sheffield Wednesday on an initial one-month loan, with the 21 year old in dire need of regular first-team football.
Having initially been expected to be promoted to the first-team squad at Emirates Stadium this summer following the departure of Vito Mannone, the late summer acquisition of Emiliano Viviano on loan from Palermo has pushed Martinez down to fourth place in the pecking order at the club, behind the Italian and Polish custodians Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski.
Martinez has racked up considerable experience of U21 football since joining Arsenal from Independiente in 2010 and went on to make his debut for the first-team last season, impressing with his calm demeanor during the 6-1 trouncing of Coventry City in the Capital One Cup.
However, the goalkeeper endured a night to forget in the 7-5 win away to Reading in the following round, and, despite some stellar showings in pre-season, hasn’t featured competitively for Arsene Wenger’s side since. Martinez already has some experience of lower-league football, but his one-game loan spell at Oxford United in 2012, in which he conceded three goals against Port Vale, is perhaps best forgotten.
Martinez will challenge the experienced Chris Kirkland for a place in side at Sheffield Wednesday, and, should he impress, the Argentina U20 international may be offered an extended stay with Dave Jones’ side.
Martinez’s departure, albeit on a temporary basis, leaves just Deyan Iliev and first-year scholar Ryan Huddart as the club’s only real options in terms of goalkeepers at youth level. With five youth competitions to compete in over the coming months, it seems likely that Arsenal will seek to bring in another young shot-stopper, and, now that Martinez’s deal has gone through, they are set to push ahead in their attempts to complete the signing of Matthew Macey, the Bristol Rovers goalkeeper who impressed on trial recently. Macey is also wanted by Everton but Arsenal are considered firm favourites for his signature.