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Ex-Arsenal coach returns to Premier League, confirmed as Aston Villa handler

Aston Villa have appointed Unai Emery as their new manager – completing a sensational comeback for the former Arsenal boss.

Emery, 50, succeeds Steven Gerrard – who was sacked by the West Midlands club last Thursday – at Villa Park. It’s his second job in the Premier League after coaching the Gunners between May 2018 and November 2019 – a job which he was dismissed from.

Villa have confirmed the experienced Spaniard will take charge of the team on November 1.

The Premier League side have activated Emery’s release clause at Villarreal, which is believed to be around £5.25million. The Villa job will be his ninth in management.

Aston Villa is delighted to announce the appointment of Unai Emery as the club’s new head coach,” confirmed Villa on Monday evening. It’s quite a coup for the one-time European champions, who’ve described Emery as “a highly experienced top-level coach”.

Villa were on the hunt for a new manager after dismissing Gerrard. They find themselves in a worrying position in the Premier League, sitting just three points above the relegation zone in 15th place. They hammered Brentford 4-0 on Sunday to ease the pressure.

Caretaker boss Aaron Danks is expected to take charge of Villa’s Premier League game against Newcastle at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon, with Emery watching on in the stands.

Ironically, Emery rejected the Newcastle job last November.

Emery arrives at Villa Park with a good CV. He started his career at Spanish minnows Lorca Deportiva in December 2004 before going on to manage Almeria and spending four years at Spanish giants Valencia – guiding them into the Champions League.

Emery’s first job overseas was at Russian side Spartak Moscow – joining in May 2012 – but he was sacked after just six months in charge. He returned to Spain in January 2013 to coach Sevilla, where he won three consecutive Europa Leagues during a superb spell.

The manager left Sevilla in June 2016 to take charge of Paris Saint-Germain, yet it was another disappointing spell abroad. Although he won seven trophies, he only lifted Ligue 1 once and failed to end achieve success in the Champions League – his primary aim.

Emery’s departure from PSG allowed Arsenal to appoint him in May 2018.

He guided the Gunners to the Europa League final in his first season in charge, but they were humbled 4-1 by Chelsea in Baku.

He also failed to secure Champions League qualification.

Emery was then sacked in November 2019 after a poor run of results.

A return to Spain followed in July 2020, as he joined Villarreal.

He was again successful – beating Manchester United in the Europa League final in May 2021 to lift the club’s first ever major trophy.

Villarreal then reached the Champions League semi-finals last season, a fantastic achievement for a club of that size.

Villa fans will be excited by Emery’s impressive trophy haul but wary about his record outside of Spain.

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