Danny Mills insists it would be ‘pretty pointless’ for Aston Villa to sign a free agent goalkeeper amid concerns over quarantine-enforced absences for Emiliano Martinez.
The former Leeds United and Manchester City full-back was speaking to Football Insider.
Villa could be without Martinez for up to three games after the international break.
As explained by The Athletic, the plan was for Martinez, and Villa team-mate Emiliano Buendia, to play for Argentina against Venezuela and Brazil but depart before their qualifier against Bolivia.
They could then head to Croatia for a training camp, maintaining their fitness and avoiding the requirement to quarantine on their return to UK. Under that arrangement, they would only be missing for the Chelsea game immediately after the break.
But Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni has now insisted that the pair will be remaining with Argentina for all three matches.
If that happens, they would be subject to a ten-day hotel quarantine until September 21, likely sidelining them for the games against Everton and Chelsea (in the League Cup).
Mills thinks Villa will ultimately ‘suck it up’ and give back-up ‘keeper Jed Steer an opportunity in Martinez’s absence.
“I think they’ll just make do with what they’ve got,” he said. “It’s not worth bringing somebody in for what is effectively two games. That would be pretty pointless, in my opinion.
“It’s one of those where you don’t like it but you’ve got to suck it up for those games.
“Again, with a goalkeeper, you’re hoping for two games it won’t be a huge problem and you will be able to deal with it relatively easily.”
You feel for Villa and indeed the other clubs who have been affected. This is the reality of international football in a pandemic – none of the parties concerned want to budge.
You might say that this is what back-up goalkeepers are for – unforeseen absences – and it’ll be as if Martinez picked up a short-term injury, but that doesn’t mean they won’t miss him.
It’s also worth noting that this problem could crop up again in the October and November breaks, and so action might yet be needed in the free agent market.
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