Newcastle United: Unai Emery confirms interest but insists no offer made

Newcastle United: Unai Emery confirms interest but insists no offer made


Unai Emery
Unai Emery won the Europa League with Villarreal in May, beating Manchester United on penalties

Villarreal manager Unai Emery has confirmed an approach from Newcastle but is yet to receive a formal offer.

The 49-year-old, formerly of Arsenal, is Newcastle’s leading target as the new owners look to replace Steve Bruce.

Newcastle hope to appoint Emery as manager before Saturday’s Premier League game against Brighton.

“If there is something more concrete I will talk with the president but right now I am working for Villarreal,” Emery said on Tuesday night.

There is still work to be done on a deal with the Spaniard, whose contract with the La Liga club runs until 2023.

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague reports Emery is “impressed” by Newcastle’s interest, but that the deal is far from being a foregone conclusion.

“He has met with the Roig family [Villarreal owners] and discussed the situation,” said Balague, adding that Emery has no plans to travel to England before the weekend. “They are trying to convince him to stay. He is very thankful to them and the club. It will be difficult to leave – but not impossible.”

Newcastle have also held talks with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe and ex-Roma manager Paulo Fonseca.

Emery led Villarreal to a 2-0 victory over Young Boys in their Champions League Group F fixture on Tuesday – a result that put them level at the top of the group with Manchester United.

In a press conference beforehand, Villarreal president Fernando Roig said he was not worried about the interest in Emery and was “sure that his mind is not drifting elsewhere”.

“Unai has a contract with us and contracts are there to be fulfilled,” Roig said. “We hope that we will be able to see that contract through until the end. I have no doubts about his professionalism in that respect.”

Emery won the Europa League last season, beating Manchester United on penalties in the final in May.

Before his appointment at Villarreal, he had an 18-month spell in charge of Arsenal before being sacked in November 2019.

In three years at Sevilla from 2013-16 he claimed three back-to-back Europa League titles and then joined Paris St-Germain, where he won Ligue 1 and two French Cups.

A Saudi Arabia-backed £305m takeover of Newcastle took place on 7 October and the new owners are keen to make an appointment with the club winless this season, second bottom of the Premier League table and six points from safety.

Former manager Bruce left the club by mutual consent on 20 October, with interim boss Graeme Jones taking charge of the team for the last two matches, a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace and subsequent 3-0 home defeat by Chelsea.

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