Aston Villa were the first side to break off from the Premier League’s 20-club agreement to release both Emi Buendia and Emi Martinez for Argentina duty – provided they would only feature in the first two of three upcoming fixtures
Angry Aston Villa are at loggerheads with Argentina after Lionel Scaloni made clear he will completely ignore their stance on Emi Buendia and Emi Martinez.
The Villans were the first of the 20 Premier League teams’ to break away from the collective stance over releasing players for internationals to allow their Argentine pair to represent their country in the international.
Both players, having broken into the Albiceleste squad in the past 12 months, were keen to feature in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers – despite the prospect of 10 days in quarantine upon their return to the UK.
Villa duly reached an agreement with the AFA over the duo, coming to an arrangement to release them for fixture against Venezuela and Brazil – provided neither featured against Bolivia.
That agreement would mean both only miss the league game against Chelsea on September 11.
Villa’s statement declared: “With the permission of the club in accordance with FIFA’s international match call-up rules, Martinez and Buendia have agreed to make themselves available for Argentina’s first two World Cup qualifying matches against Venezuela and Brazil, but will not take part in the third international match against Bolivia.”
That compromise would allow the pair to return to Dean Smith’s lineup when they face Everton at Villa Park on September 18.
However, speaking at his press conference on Wednesday night, Scaloni made clear he has no intention of sticking to that agreement.
The first Argentina boss to win the Copa America since 1993 was asked about clubs not releasing players and declared: “Regarding the clubs, we never had a refusal. We spoke and we reached a conclusion that they had to come.”
Asked specifically about Villa, he raged: “We gave the list for the three matches and there was no doubt. The players are here for the three matches.”
Mirror Football understands that Villa boss Smith and chief executive Christian Purslow are furious with Scaloni’s plan to completely ignore the arrangement, something they believed was the most reasonable course of action for all parties.
Purslow is now expected to attempt to intervene and to try force through the arrangement to ensure both players return to the UK after the clash with Brazil on September 5.
If he cannot, then both players could face missing the Chelsea and Everton league fixtures and also the EFL Cup clash against Chelsea on September 22. They would likely only be available to face Man Utd and Spurs before heading on international duty again in early October.
Martinez, now Argentina’s undisputed No.1 after a stellar showing at the Copa America, is a certainty to play the opening two fixtures.
Villa’s £38million record signing Buendia is likely to be on the bench, having worked his way into Scaloni’s squad, having been cut from the provisional Copa squad.