Who is Unai Emery? Background and career honours as Spaniard closes in on Arsenal job

Arsenal caused a shock this evening and are set to appoint former PSG and Sevilla manager Unai Emery as their new manager with the Spaniard set to replace Arsene Wenger at the helm in north London. 

According to BBC Sport, the Spaniard is to become the new manager of the north London club soon, with an announcement being made this week.

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The BBC say that other candidates for the managerial position included: Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri; former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti; and former Arsenal players Mikel Arteta, Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira but Emery was selected after a thorough managerial process by the Arsenal hierarchy.

The news has caused shock waves with many Gunners’ fans as they expected to see bookies’ favourite Arteta installed as new head coach.

As per the BBC, Emery’s contract with French Ligue 1 champions Paris St-Germain expired at the end of the season and Emery was replaced by former Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel.

So what do we know of the man and what credentials will he bring to the table? We have all the details here.

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Arsenal legend Ian Wright seemed furious with Arsenal’s decision making in their process of choosing either Arteta or Emery

Who is Unai Emery?

Unai Emery, 46, is the former Paris St-Germain manager where he won one Ligue 1 title and four domestic cups in two seasons in charge.

He is best known for his time at Spanish club Sevilla however, where he enjoyed incredible successes as manager by winning three consecutive Europa League triumphs between 2014 and 2016.

Emery is said to be known for his tactical acumen and counter-attacking style of play and whilst not as glamorous as ‘Wengerball’ in its pomp, Emery has proven to entertain when PSG broke a Champions League record to score 25 goals in their group campaign.

He is said to be obsessed with studying the opposition before each game meticulously – which is something critics have said Arsenal often fail to do in recent years.

Former player Joaquin played for Emery at Valencia and said his former manager’s love for the game was like an ‘illness’.

“Emery put on so many videos I ran out of popcorn,” Joaquin said as per the Guardian.

“He’s obsessed by football, it’s practically an illness. He’s one of the best managers I’ve had. I worked with him for three years … I couldn’t handle a fourth.”

Emery started his managerial career at Lorca Deportiva after he retired as a player.

He led them to promotion in Spain’s second division and moved to Almeria and impressed their by getting promoted to the top flight in La Liga and achieved eighth place finish the following year.

Valencia took note as the young manager’s stock continued to rise where he would join them; leading them to the Champions League places.

Times were hard at Valencia when the club had to sell star names like David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata due to all the debts they had at that time.

He would leave the Spanish club and move to Spartak Moscow, however, this was a blemish on his CV and was sacked within a few months.

He joined Sevilla in 2013 and enjoyed wonderful success before leaving for PSG in 2016.

Playing career

Emery plied his trade in Spain making 339 career appearances scoring 18 goals in his 14 years as a player, according to the Daily Mail.

He was a left-side midfielder and began his playing career at Real Sociedad youth team and in 1990 the Spaniard made his debut for Sociedad’s B team, as per the Daily Mail.

Emery then moved to Toledo, Racing Ferrol, and Leganes before retiring at Lorca Deportiva in 2004 where he would become manager of the club for a short spell.

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