Villa Park latest news: Aston Villa made "very canny" decision involving £58m duo

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith

Aston Villa were "very smart" in how they dealt with the sensational scenes involving Emiliano Martinez and Emiliano Buendia earlier this month, according to Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield.

Why did Martinez and Buendia hit the headlines?

All 20 Premier League clubs unanimously voted against releasing players for international fixtures taking place in Covid-19 red-list countries last month.

But, just a matter of days later, Villa gave Martinez and Buendia permission to link-up with Argentina for World Cup qualifying clashes against South American rivals Venezuela and Brazil during the recent international break.

While Villa allowed Martinez and Buendia to join their national team-mates, Tottenham Hotspur head coach Nuno Espirito Santo confirmed he did not approve of Argentinians Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso making the same move.

The quartet's trip to South America led to incredible scenes in Sao Paulo as, seven minutes into the clash between Brazil and Argentina, Brazilian health officials walked onto the pitch and halted proceedings as they objected to the Premier League stars being involved as they should not have been playing after breaking quarantine rules.

The situation, which led to the encounter being abandoned, resulted in Fifa opening an investigation.

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What has Luke Hatfield said about Martinez and Buendia?

Hatfield reckons Villa should be hailed for how they dealt with the fiasco involving two of their players.

The journalist believes Villa boss Dean Smith allowed Martinez and Buendia to head onto international duty with Argentina to keep the duo happy and avoid any potential tension.

Hatfield told GMS: "There's a thin line that you've got to walk upon if you're Aston Villa Football Club because you want to keep the players happy, but you can't let them dictate what they're doing.

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"At the same time, they're football players who have got careers of their own and I think Villa have been very canny and very smart with the way they've handled it."

How important are the duo to Villa?

Villa forked out a club record fee which could rise to £38million when they signed Buendia from newly-promoted Norwich City during the summer.

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The 24-year-old has gone on to make four appearances for his new employers and scored his first goal in Villa colours during the draw with Brentford last month.

Martinez, meanwhile, cost £20million as Villa drafted the goalkeeper in from Arsenal 12 months ago.

He has gone on to make the number one goalkeeping spot his own, enjoying 42 outings.

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