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After Emiliano Martinez Who Arsenal’s Longest Serving Player?

It was a sad day, but an expected day.

When Emiliano Martinez‘s departure to Aston Villa was confirmed, mixed emotions bubbled to the surface. On one hand, a player with true love for Arsenal departed after playing a crucial role in last season’s FA Cup triumph, while on the other hand, £20m is exceptionally good value for a backup goalkeeper who barely played prior to March this year.

No less than 11 years of service (seven since his first team debut) have come to an end, with all associated with the club wishing him well in his future endeavours.

Wait… 11 years!?!? That’s a hell of a long time.

Indeed, our longest serving player has departed the club, which means someone must now have taken over that mantle. But who?

Trawling through the records and the player lists, a few options arose depending on what is considered to be ‘serving’ (although it’s generally based off the first option).

Thus, we’ve broken it down.

Since Joining Senior Team  – Mesut Ozil

He couldn’t get into the team at the moment even if there was a bout of food poisoning at the club – whether you agree with the manager’s decision or not – but now Martinez has departed, the player in the squad who’s been in the senior side the longest is indeed Mesut Ozil.

Most can remember the day he made his debut, an away trip to face Sunderland in the Premier League at the Stadium of Light on September 14th, 2013. Marking the occasion with an assist, he set up Olivier Giroud in the 14th minute to net Arsenal’s first of the game, one they went on to win 3-1.

A very close second is Hector Bellerin.

It was about as brief as you can get, as the Spaniard came on in the 95th minute of a League Cup third round tie away at West Brom, one Arsenal won on penalties after a 1-1 draw. This came just nine days after Ozil made his, on September 25th 2013.

Bellerin has been at the club longer than his teammate, but working on the basis that this is from their senior involvement onwards, the 25-year-old comes second in the list.

Third down the line is Calum Chambers, who joined the club on July 28th 2014 and made his senior debut a matter of days later against Manchester City in the Community Shield.

Since Joining Arsenal in Some Capacity – Ainsley Maitland-Niles

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 15: Ainsley Maitland-Niles of Arsenal (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

In terms of the club as a while, no player has been on the books at Arsenal longer than Ainsley Maitland-Niles. A product of the famed Hale End academy, the versatile midfielder joined the club at the age of six, some 17 years ago. Now 23 years old, he’s made over 100 appearances for the club, scoring three times, and has fully cemented himself into Mikel Arteta‘s plans for the future.

Next down the line, and only just, is Joe Willock. The lad from north London joined the Gunners at a younger age – not even five years old – and has been steadily working his way up the ranks into the senior fold.

Two years Maitland-Niles’ junior, he has racked up over 60 outings for his boyhood side and is one of few midfielders in this squad who hasn’t been linked with a move away this summer. Arteta clearly has high hopes for the Waltham Forest-born player.

Next: Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson: Lowdown Emiliano Martinez Replacement

Coming in at third place is last season’s breakout star, Bukayo Saka. He made his Premier League debut under the tutelage of Unai Emery in January 2019, never looking back since. Still only 19 years of age, he was handed the number seven shirt previously worn by legends such as Robert Pires and Rocky Rocastle before him.

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