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Premier League return | Unai Emery appointed manager of Aston Villa

Emery has built a very credible profile on the continent during stints with FC Sevilla and Villarreal CF but will be remembered most in England for his up-and-down period with Arsenal

Aston Villa has moved quickly to replace former manager Steven Gerrard after confirmed reports that the Birmingham-based outfit has found their next manager in Villarreal CF’s Unai Emery.

According to reports via football insider Fabrizio Romano, sources linked with the Spanish club were of the feeling that Emery would depart for Villa this evening to take up his new posting in what will be his second stint in the Premier League, and those feelings were proven correct when Villa parted with €6m (£5.2m) to release him from his contractual obligations in Spain.

With a deal now finalized, the club can expect the Spaniard to take charge of his first match when Villa head to Tyneside to clash with high-flying Newcastle United under Eddie Howe.

Emery’s record in La Liga has overall been sublime during his time with Sevilla and Villarreal, winning the Europa League in three consecutive seasons between 2013 and 2016, while winning the competition for a fourth time with Villarreal against all odds during the 2020-21 season.

His success with Sevilla which came in the wake of a credible period with Valencia CF and then a topsy-turvy period with Spartak Moscow earned him a position on the touchline at the Parc des Princes with Paris Saint-Germain, where he racked up a win rate of 76.3% across all competitions (the highest of his career) while earning six domestic cup honors as well as the Ligue 1 title in 2017-18.

That was not enough to keep him in the French capital and he was ultimately replaced with Thomas Tuchel after that same title-winning season, but he would eventually move on to Arsenal in May of that summer before embarking on a much-criticized spell in north London.

Emery eventually was relieved of command and replaced with current fan-favorite Mikel Arteta, but at the very least, Emery had given initial faith in the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe which deserves credit given how both players have shot to prominence at the club in the last two seasons.

As for Villa, who have a credible core of players at Villa Park for Emery to work with, fewer expectations for major domestic honors means that he could well be allowed be able to apply a similar blueprint that garnered success in Spain.

Surely, it cannot be any worse than what Gerrard brought to the table.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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