Villarreal manager Unai Emery has explained why he turned down interest from Newcastle United to become the club’s new manager.
The Spaniard became heavily linked with a move to St. James’ Park before the international break.
It was thought the Magpies’ new owners really liked the former Arsenal man
It seems like a deal was very close, with there even being claims Emery would be in the dugout for the game against Brighton.
But Emery would then reject Newcastle, publicly declaring his desire to remain with Villarreal.
He was clearly settled and in the end, Newcastle appointed Eddie Howe.
Supporters have been pleased with what they have seen so far from Howe.
He wasn’t able to be on the touchline on Saturday after testing positive for Covid-19. But there were positives to take from 3-3 draw with Brentford.
Tonight, Emery has lifted the lid on why he decided to stay put.
Speaking ahead of Villarreal’s Champions League clash with Manchester United, he said on BT Sport: “Everybody wants to listen when your work is efficient, but for now I am very focused here and have the opportunity to manage in the Champions League.”
Champions League remains huge lure
It is understandable that Emery wanted to stay put.
The Champions League really is the ultimate goal for most players and managers in club football.
Villarreal still have a great chance of progressing through to the last 16.
Should they fail to do that, then they could drop into the Europa League – and we all know how successful Emery has been in that particular competition.