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Former Spurs midfielder Étienne Capoue leaves England for Unai Emery’s Villarreal in La Liga

Former Spurs midfielder Étienne Capoue leaves England for Unai Emery’s Villarreal in La Liga

Villarreal sign Capoue

Villarreal have announced the signing of Étienne Capoue from Watford on a two-and-a-half year contract. The former Spurs midfielder arrived in England from Toulouse, having been widely praised for his performances in the French top-tier.

The 32-year-old joins former Arsenal boss Unai Emery in Spain, amid a fantastic renaissance to his managerial career with Villarreal. Yesterday’s 2-0 defeat to Sevilla was the club’s first in their last 19 matches. The Spanish coach has overseen a superb start to the season, with the Yellow Submarine pushing for a top-4 spot, competing with some of the best sides in the country.

Capoue will bring experience and depth to the La Liga side’s midfield. Villarreal currently have just four central midfield options, in former Leicester City man Vicente Iborra, Dani Parejo, Manu Trigueros and ex-Arsenal youngster Francis Coquelin.

The club’s ranks in the middle of the park are already highly experienced, with all of the aforementioned players of or over the age of 29. Capoue will add yet another fine option for Emery to utilise at will.

Emery assistant says Arsenal not easy

Emery was sacked by Arsenal at the end of 2019, having overseen a number of winless games, slipping off the pace in the Premier League in the process. There was even a close shave during the club’s Europa League campaign, which almost saw the Gunners drop out of a group containing three sides well below their level.

The job of taking over from Arsene Wenger was never going to be an easy one, and Emery did manage to reach a Europa League final in his first season. However, the north Londoners were ultimately unable to qualify for the Champions League, which had stood as their number one target.

The Athletic recently spoke to Emery’s former assistant, Juan Carlos Carcedo. He has since left his footballing partner of 15 years to take on his own head coaching role at Spanish club UD Ibiza.

“It is not easy,” explained Carcedo when drawn on the job undertaken by himself and Emery at Arsenal. “After so many years with Wenger, it was not an easy moment. It is true that there were changes in many different areas of the club, but the club hierarchy has to try to keep things calm and give confidence to the people working there, now it is Mikel and [technical director] Edu.”

Former Spurs midfielder Étienne Capoue leaves England for Unai Emery’s Villarreal in La Liga

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 28: Unai Emery manager of Arsenal during the UEFA Europa League group F match between Arsenal FC and Eintracht Frankfurt at Emirates Stadium on November 28, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

“I know it is not easy sometimes, with results, but constant changes are not good and you need to have patience for the results to arrive, and so that the people who work there now can achieve the things they are fighting for.”

Arsenal of course since opted for former club captain Mikel Arteta to take up the reins, and he has so far had mixed results during his tenure. Despite winning an FA Cup trophy in his first season, the start of the Spaniard’s first full campaign has been a struggle. Huge changes, including redundancies, head of football Raul Sanhelli’s departure and the Covid-19 pandemic have combined to make things tough for Arteta.

After two wins in a row against Chelsea and Brighton, though, things appear to be looking up.

“We are not here to give ten games in a row to a player if he does not perform” former Arsenal boss Unai Emery slams Real Madrid loanee Take Kubo

Unai Emery’s former no.2 urges Arsenal hierarchy to ‘have patience’ and not make rash changes


This article was edited by Conor Laird.

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