Emiliano Martinez has written a lengthy and touching goodbye message to Arsenal fans ahead of his £20million switch to Aston Villa.
Martinez “could not be happier to leave through the front door” with his head held high as the Gunners’ longest-serving player.
The Argentinian shot stopper has completed a medical and agreed a four-year Villa deal worth around £60,000 a week.
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In an Instagram post the 28-year-old revealed his pride at departing the Emirates on a high after previous “frustration” amid six loan spells away.
Having helped Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final last month, he returned to Wembley a fortnight ago for a Community Shield swansong win over Liverpool on penalties.
“I’m very grateful for my 11 years at Arsenal even if it was hard work for me,” Martinez said.
” I was trying season after season always to come back to the club I love to have my chance.
“It was hard but I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel.
“That’s when we won the FA Cup and the Community Shield I saw sun and I blue skies. It was the right time for me to step up (to leave) and they all understood my decision.”
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And with rousing advice for young players. Martinez added: “If you work hard you are not going to be happy all the time.
“You’re going to have frustrations, you’re going to have bad times in your life but you have to overcome that.
“When you pass that, that’s when you see light.”
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He also saluted Emirates supporters for never forgetting him, even when he was well out of the first-team picture.