Emiliano Martinez was cast into the limelight and fared well on his Champions League debut against Anderlecht this week, and the goalkeeper has a further cause for celebration after it was revealed that he has signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal.
Speaking to SkySports, Martinez said: “They (Arsenal) must be happy with how I got on (on loan at Sheffield Wednesday last season) because they have renewed my contract for another four years.”
Martinez has improved immeasurably since his first outings in the first-team two years ago. Then, particularly on that dramatic night against Reading in the Capital One Cup, he was nervous and unassured. In pre-season he demonstrated that he is now far more confident and his qualities were again in evidence in Belgium on Wednesday night.
Martinez, who was officially promoted to the first-team squad in the summer, may have to be patient for further opportunities given that Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina are ahead of him, but the Argentinean’s loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday looks to have helped him immensely.
Another Arsenal player has put pen to paper on a new contract, with the club confirming today that Ainsley Maitland-Niles has signed professional terms. Maitland-Niles has always been highly regarded by Arsenal, having featured in the NextGen Series (an U19 competition) when he was still a schoolboy.
His first season as a scholar was a resounding success as he established himself as an important player at U21 level and also trained with the first-team on a couple of occasions.
This season, Maitland-Niles, normally a winger, has been deployed more regularly as a central-midfielder. He has been impressive at times in his new position, but his pace, flair and crossing ability seem far better suited to wide areas. Regardless of where he plays, though, Maitland-Niles certainly seems set for a bright future.
Elliot Wright and Renny Smith are the only remaining 2013 scholars who are yet to turn professional, with a decision on their futures to be made before the end of the campaign.