Unai Emery: Aston Villa appoint Villarreal manager as head coach

Unai Emery
Unai Emery has won the Europa League four times

Aston Villa have appointed Unai Emery as manager following the sacking of Steven Gerrard.

Former Arsenal boss Emery, who had been in charge of Spanish club Villarreal, will take over at Villa on 1 November.

Caretaker Aaron Danks will again take charge at Newcastle this weekend, after Gerrard was dismissed last week following a 3-0 Premier League defeat by Fulham.

Emery, who would have been out of contract at Villarreal next summer, will begin work next week “after his work permit formalities are completed,” Villa said.

The club added: “Aston Villa is delighted to announce the appointment of Unai Emery as the club’s new head coach.

“A highly experienced top level coach who has managed over 900 games, Unai has also previously managed in the Premier League during a spell with Arsenal, leading the Gunners to a Europa League final.

“He has also enjoyed notable success at Sevilla and at Paris St-Germain. In Seville, he won three successive Europa League titles between 2013 and 2016 before going on to lift a Ligue 1 championship in France as well as two French Cups, two French League Cups and two Trophee des Champions.”

Emery joined Villarreal in 2020 and led them to Europa League success in the 2020-21 season, beating Manchester United in the final.

The Spanish club also reached last year’s Champions League semi-finals under Emery, losing 5-2 to Liverpool on aggregate.

Emery’s Villarreal appointment followed his sacking after just 18 months as Arsenal manager in November 2019, after failing to win in seven games – the Gunners’ worst run at the time since February 1992.

During his time in north London he took Arsenal to the Europa League final, losing to Chelsea in 2019.

Villa beat Brentford 4-0 on Sunday under caretaker Danks – just their third win in 12 Premier League games this season – which left them 14th, three points above the relegation zone.

The club had also held talks with representatives of Sporting Lisbon coach Ruben Amorin.

‘Emery appointment sign of Villa ambition’ – analysis

Aston Villa’s appointment of Unai Emery is sign of the club’s ambition and determination to make a mark in Europe.

Emery is a peerless European specialist, having won the Europa League three seasons in succession at Sevilla before lifting the trophy again with Villarreal when they beat Manchester United in 2021.

He retains an excellent reputation and was the prime target for Newcastle Saudi Arabian owners before they appointed Eddie Howe. Emery looked set for Tyneside last November only to have a last-minute change of mind.

Emery’s first task is to move Villa up the Premier League and he will return to England as a manager with something to prove following his sacking by Arsenal in November 2019 after 18 months in charge.

He followed Arsene Wenger, and even though his time at Emirates Stadium has been painted as a failure, Arsenal finished fifth in his full season in charge and he once again demonstrated his expertise in European competition, leading the Gunners to the Europa League final where they lost to Chelsea.

Villa’s owners want the club to be competing in Europe and want a reset following the sacking of Steven Gerrard after less than a year.

In Emery, they have landed one of Europe’s most experienced, respected and decorated coaches who will be fired by a fierce determination to set the record straight after his time at Arsenal.


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