Aston Villa boast a World Cup winner within their ranks, but with the monumental triumph on football’s biggest stage comes the inevitable transfer talk in tow, and Emiliano Martinez has indeed been touted by several top European outfits.
A bid from the likes of Bayern Munich, who have been sniffing around the Best Goalkeeper winner in Qatar after Manuel Neuer broke his leg, could be forthcoming, but they may well find a worthy replacement in Everton’s Jordan Pickford if the Villans do indeed lose their star shot-stopper.
The Sun have reported that with Pickford’s contractual standoff with the Toffees, he is indeed being touted as the most likely successor to Martinez’s throne.
That comes with the added layer regarding the alleged rift between Villa head coach Unai Emery and Martinez, with Football Insider detailing the ‘fall out’ between the pair, who were both at Arsenal during Emery’s tenure at the north London outfit.
The two ‘keepers have both been in solid form for their respective clubs this term; as per Sofascore, Martinez has recorded a solid 6.91 rating in the English top-flight this term, saving 69% of his faced shots.
However, the £18m-rated Pickford has overcome a few troubled years to propel his estimations, proving to be excellent in a lacklustre Everton side.
He has recorded an average rating of 7.17 despite his side languishing within a point of the Premier League relegation zone, making four saves per game at a rate of 76% of shots faced, bagging an assist for Demarai Gray’s late equaliser against Nottingham Forest and keeping three clean sheets.
Everton coach Alan Kelly once lauded the 28-year-old England ace as “faultless“, and Villa would need his ferocious aura and leadership if they were to lose their Argentine sensation at some point in the near future.
And with Pickford’s contract indeed expiring at the end of next season, a winter or summer move in 2023 might reap the rewards, with an enticing bid sure to get the cogs whirring inside Toffees owner Farhad Moshiri’s head.
Aston Villa’s Emery must consider his options, and while the established presence of Martinez would be missed between the sticks, if they were to search for a new keeper, then the “monster” Pickford – as dubbed by journalist Joe Crann – would be the man, bringing composure, strength and resilience in abundance.