First-choice Newcastle United boss target publicly says no, as problem is highlighted

Unai Emery Villarreal April 2021

Newcastle United boss target Unai Emery has released a statement saying he is staying at LaLiga side Villarreal.

The former Arsenal manager had been linked with the vacant hot-seat on Tyneside. However, the 50-year-old has turned down the opportunity to return to the Premier League after exploratory talks with the club.

Emery said he was “grateful for the interest” shown by Newcastle, but “even more grateful” to be a part of Villarreal.

“For all the noise there was yesterday in another country, inside the club there was transparency and loyalty with the Roig family and with my squad, which is at its maximum and for me is the most important thing,” tweeted Emery.

“Villarreal CF is my home and I am 100 per cent committed. Honestly, I am grateful for the interest of a great club, but even more grateful to be here and that is why I communicated to Fernando Roig my decision to continue being part of this project, thanks to the commitment and respect that I feel from the club and my players, which is mutual and reciprocal.

“I want to thank the fans for the support they have given me always shown me. On Sunday we have a very important game and I hope we can all together get victory. See you at the Estadio de la Ceramica.”

Villarreal’s president had poured cold water on the talk of Emery’s exit. But Newcastle reportedly felt confident they could lure the former PSG boss to St James’ Park.

Board member Amanda Staveley sped up talks with Emery on Sunday. But Spanish football expert Guillem Balague suggested on Tuesday night that Emery would stay at Villarreal.

The reporter told BBC Sport: “Emery felt a huge pressure on the day of their match [against Young Boys].

“And then there was the lack of a clear vision from the club.

“If you want him, do you approach him in such a rushed way, without an official offer and with it coming out from the English side that it is all practically done?”


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No Newcastle sporting director

The fact that none of United’s new board have got any football experience in negotiating with players and managers may well have hindered a deal.

The club are still looking for a leader of football affairs in the boardroom. Managing director Lee Charnley was responsible for transfers previously, but left with old owner Mike Ashley.

Sky Sports reporter Keith Downie said: “The biggest surprise for me is that they haven’t looked to bring in a chief executive, football director or sporting director yet. I think if you get someone like that in, who is used to dealing in these circles, it can be easier to bring a manager in.

“But you have to remember it’s all new to the consortium, and it’s something they’ll have to get used to.

“It’s also not a football club that is in a healthy position. They are sitting second bottom of the Premier League and there is a real threat of relegation.”

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