Aston Villa considering Unai Emery to succeed sacked Steven Gerrard – report

Villarreal head coach Unai Emery looks on from the bench during the La Liga match between Real Sociedad and Villarreal on 9 October, 2022 at the Reale Arena, San Sebastian, Spain
(Image credit: Quality Sport Images)

Aston Villa (opens in new tab) intend to hold talks with former Arsenal (opens in new tab) boss Unai Emery about becoming their new head coach, according to reports.

After months of mounting pressure, Steven Gerrard finally succumbed to the sack after Thursday's dismal 3-0 defeat at Fulham (opens in new tab) – where the atmosphere in the away turned toxic as Villa fans pulled no punches in making their feelings known.

And according to Football Insider (opens in new tab), Emery – currently in charge of Villarreal (opens in new tab) – is at the top of Villa's list of options to succeed Gerrard – who lasted just under a year in the Villa Park hotseat.

Steven Gerrard, then head coach of Aston Villa, looks dejected after the Premier League match between Fulham and Aston Villa on 20 October, 2022 at Craven Cottage, London, United Kingdom

Gerrard was dismissed with Villa sitting 17th in the Premier League (Image credit: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Emery, was sacked by Arsenal in November 2019, before being appointed Villarreal head coach in July 2020. The Spaniard has enjoyed great success with the Yellow Submarine, guiding them to Europa League glory in 2020/21 – when they famously beat Manchester United (opens in new tab) on penalties in the final – then to last season's Champions League semi-finals, where they gave Liverpool (opens in new tab) a bit of a scare.

Having turned down an approach from Newcastle (opens in new tab) last November following the Magpies' mega-money Saudi takeover, would Emery be tempted by a return to the Premier League with Villa?

Unai Emery gives instructions from the touchline while head coach of Arsenal

Emery was in charge of Arsenal for just 18 months, having succeeded Arsene Wenger (Image credit: AFP via Getty Images)

Well, he would forego European football (albeit Villarreal are only in the Europa Conference League this term) and be moving to a club with big expectations – as signified by their significant transfer outlay in recent years.

After rejecting Newcastle, Emery emphasised that he was "100% committed" (opens in new tab) to the Villarreal cause – and, while a hell of a lot can change in the space of 12 months in this game, he may well wish to stay put until his contract at La Ceramica expires next summer.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...