Forget Arsenal's Aaron Ramsdale - this is the £45m Premier League goalkeeper Chelsea need to sign
The Blues are understood to be interested in the Arsenal goalkeeper, but would they be better off chasing another Premier League stopper?
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Ask any casual observer and they will likely tell you that it was Lionel Messi, that messianic alien with liquid gold coursing through his veins, who won Argentina the World Cup. Through a combination of divine majesty and jaw-clenching defiance, the little gargantuan cemented his reputation as the greatest to ever lace a boot, and enraptured a nation in the process.
The thinking man would, however, disagree. For there is a school of thought, lurking out on the lunatic fringe, that would stubbornly espouse that it was not Messi who ensured Argentina's ecstasy, but rather Neal Maupay.
According to that grand excavator of rabbit holes, Wikipedia, 'the Butterfly Effect is a phenomenon which refers to the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state'. Or, in other words, one day Bernd Leno is getting poleaxed by a buzz cut nuisance from Brighton, and two years later Emi Martinez is untethering a monstrous left leg to torpedo France's piqued hopes in the frantic depths of Qatari extra time.
Were it not for Maupay, Martinez may never have been given a chance to prove himself for Arsenal. Were he never given a chance to prove himself for Arsenal he may never have sealed a transfer to Aston Villa. And were he to never sign for Aston Villa, he may never have been the first Argentine goalkeeper to lift the World Cup trophy since Nery Pumpido, or become the most recent recipient of the prestigious Yashin Award. If there were any justice in this cruel, cruel world, Maupay would already have his own statue in the centre of Buenos Aires.
Regardless, by any metric, Martinez is now one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, and the football world writ large. Which brings us, in a tangential sort of way, to Chelsea. At the present moment in time, Mauricio Pochettino is relying upon Robert Sanchez as his number one at Stamford Bridge. While the Spaniard's tenure has yet to be marked by anything truly disastrous, it is still hard to shake the feeling that this is not a working relationship that will last forever.
Indeed, if speculation is to be believed, the Blues are already considering a swoop for another beneficiary of the aforementioned Bernd Leno's misfortune. Aaron Ramsdale was parachuted in by Arsenal to replace the German, only to be seemingly usurped himself by summer signing David Raya. Now relegated to a watching brief, the England international is expected to leave the Emirates sooner rather than later. To quote Michael Scott, how the turn tables.
But if Chelsea are intent on spending big on a goalkeeper in the coming months, perhaps they should instead focus their attentions on Martinez. Granted, at first glance, there are plenty of reasons to doubt the viability of a move. For one, Aston Villa are currently flying high, and the South American is one of the foremost lieutenants in Unai Emery's revolution. Then there is his contract, which runs until 2027, and his supposed price tag, which teeters at a hefty £45 million. For some, age may be a factor too; at 31, Martinez is no wobbly-legged foal.
The thing is though, Chelsea, in their constant state of turmoil and tumult, need reliability. They require a measure of reassurance that has been sorely lacking between the sticks for quite some time. Yes, Martinez - this wild-eyed, hip-thrusting maverick - is hardly a conservative character, but there is no denying that he is a heartening presence. This is a player who, just last month, broke Argentina's all-time record for the longest period in the national team's history without conceding a goal - 609 minutes, or seven successive clean sheets. For Villa too, he thrives; in the Premier League last season he conceded 38 goals from an xCG of 45.92. Never before has chaos been so dependable.
You can argue that he is pricey, but generally speaking, you get what you pay for. (And that's without acknowledging the fact that money is rarely an issue for Todd Boehly.) You can argue that he is a touch long in the tooth, but at 31, he could still have the better part of a decade left in him, and that age brings with it a certain desirable experience.
Or to put it another way, Chelsea, at some point in the not too distant future, are likely going to go and sign a goalkeeper. Why shouldn't they try and bring in one of the best in the world?