Reading have confirmed their fourth signing on the January transfer window, announcing that goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez has joined the club on loan from Arsenal until the end of the season.
It is the 26-year-old’s sixth temporary spell away from the Emirates - he’s previously been at Oxford United, Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham United, Wolves and Getafe - having never been able to earn himself a regular spot between the sticks since moving to North London in 2010.
This season, Martinez has played third choice to Bernd Leno and Petr Cech, meaning his only appearance came in the 1-0 Europa League win over Qarabag in December. It was only his 14th senior Arsenal game. Despite reportedly asking to leave this month, he is seen as having a future at Arsenal and is expected to be the number two when Cech retires this season.
A goalkeeper has clearly been on Jose Gomes’ wish list since he arrived at the club, with Manchester United’s Joel Pereira looking a likely option before the Martinez deal came about. Anssi Jaakkola has started in all of the Portuguese’s matches so far, but his ability to play with the ball at his feet has come into question on a couple of occasions. The signing also doesn’t bode well for Vito Mannone or Sam Walker, who haven’t played since September 1st and November 3rd respectively. Mannone specifically has reportedly been told he is free to depart Berkshire, and spoke pretty scathingly of his treatment to a fan on social media a couple of weeks ago. Should Martinez play, it will be the first time Reading have used four different goalkeepers in one league season since 2001/02.
Speaking about the signing, Jose Gomes said:
“I am delighted we have been able to attract a goalkeeper of Emi’s undoubted ability to Reading. He will provide excellent competition for the goalkeeper’s position and adds quality to our group. I look forward to working with him on the training ground for the first time later today.”
Nigel Howe added:
“Emiliano is another talented player who has agreed to spend time away from one of the top teams in the Premier League in search of valuable first team football. He has Championship experience and he is up for the fight. I look forward to him challenging for the goalkeeper’s jersey as a Royal.”