Unai Emery leaves Villarreal to take charge of Aston Villa

October 24, 2022 GMT
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Villarreal's coach Unai Emery gestures during the Group C Conference League soccer match between Austria Wien and Villarreal in Vienna, Austria, Thursday Oct.13, 2022. (AP Photo/Florian Schroetter)
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Villarreal's coach Unai Emery gestures during the Group C Conference League soccer match between Austria Wien and Villarreal in Vienna, Austria, Thursday Oct.13, 2022. (AP Photo/Florian Schroetter)

This time, Unai Emery couldn’t resist a return to English soccer.

Emery left his position as Villarreal coach on Monday to take charge of Aston Villa, replacing the fired Steven Gerrard.

It will be Emery’s second spell in the Premier League, having coached Arsenal in 2018-19.

He turned down the opportunity to become Newcastle manager in October last year following the purchase of the club by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, saying Villarreal was his home and he wanted to “continue being part of this project.”

A year later, Emery has decided to return to England, ending his 2 1/2-year stint at Villarreal during which he won the Europa League — a title he also claimed three times at Sevilla. He also was previously coach of Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla.

Villa said Emery will start as manager on Nov. 1 after his work permit formalities are completed. His contract at Villarreal was due to expire at the end of the season and the BBC reported Villa has paid a buyout fee of around $6 million for the 50-year-old Emery.

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Emery will hold a farewell news conference at Villarreal’s training ground on Tuesday, the Spanish club said, and director of football Miguel Ángel Tena will take charge of the team on an interim basis until a new coach is hired.

Gerrard was fired in the hours after Villa lost at Fulham 3-0 on Thursday. Villa beat Brentford 4-0 three days later and is in 14th place in the league.

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