Emiliano Martinez
Martinez is Arsenal's third choice but has started in both EFL Cup games so far this season. Getty

Arsene Wenger believes goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez can eventually become Petr Cech's long-term replacement in the Arsenal goal.

Martinez's first-team football has been limited to the club's EFL Cup campaign this season but he has performed admirably in the competition so far, keeping clean sheets in victories over Nottingham Forest and Reading.

The 24-year-old sits behind former Chelsea shot stopper Cech and Colombia international David Ospina in the goalkeeping pecking order at the Emirates Stadium, but he remains in Wenger's plans having been rewarded with a new long-term contract earlier this week.

And the Arsenal manager has made it clear he sees a long-term future for the Argentine in north London.

Wenger told a press conference on Friday: "Martinez is our No 3 but he has potential to be a No 1. That's why we extend his deal. He learns a lot at the moment from Cech and Ospina and certainly for me he is a future goalkeeper at Arsenal.

"The problem with this job he must be patient. You see Cech is still playing but when you are a young goalkeeper you must be patient."

Martinez is likely to return in goal for Arsenal's first-leg EFL Cup semi-final clash with Southampton at the Emirates on Wednesday. He could also be joined by Lucas Perez, who is in line to return against Claude Puel's side mid-week having returned to training after an ankle injury on Friday.

The 27-year-old suffered an ankle ligament injury during the victory over Reading on 25 October with Wenger confirming on Friday morning he will be without his summer signing for "six to eight weeks".

The Spaniard's recovery has gone better than initially expected, however, and while Sunday's Premier League clash with Bournemouth will come too soon for him, a return could beckon on Wednesday. Wenger said: "Lucas returned to training today for first time, he might be in contention for Wednesday, one training session is not enough to be involved on Sunday."