Newcastle United are lining up Unai Emery for the manager's job in a shock twist of events, according to reports.
Having been linked with Paolo Fonseca and Lucian Favre, the newly-monied Magpies have turned attention to former Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain manager Emery in a bid to escape relegation and build for the future.
Reports from Germany suggest that Newcastle are willing to pay out the remainder of his contract, just to bring him in now and replace Graeme Jones - who has been managing the side since Steve Bruce was relieved a game into the new ownership.
Emery, who is currently with Europa League winners Villarreal, spent a season and a half managing in the Premier League prior to his return to Spain. During that time, he was much-maligned at Arsenal for his drab style of play.
The Basque boss was also routinely criticised on social media for his grasp of English and reportedly struggled to communicate with his players. Since returning to Spain, however, Emery has thrived, winning the Europa League with Villarreal.
Newcastle are reportedly looking for a long-term manager to realise their vision as an ambitious club looking for silverware. Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have both been touted, thanks to their jobs at Rangers and Chelsea respectively, while former Bournemouth man Eddie Howe has been linked with the vacant position.
While Unai Emery has managed a number of big clubs, his football is rather more pragmatic than some of the names put forward to take on the Toon. The Spaniard favours defence first and plays a 4-4-2 at Villarreal.
Last in the Premier League from 2018 to 2019, Emery failed to realise his vision at Arsenal as he tried to overhaul the Gunners' squad after Arsene Wenger. He took the club to the Europa League final in 2019, only to be battered 4-1 by Chelsea in Baku, Azerbaijan, and was sacked midway through the 2019/20 season after a poor run of form.
Newcastle perhaps see his ability in the Europa League as a defining reason to hire him. Should Newcastle look to challenge higher up the table, the top four could be hard to break into, while the Europa League could provide an opportunity to break into the Champions League quickly.
Emery has won four Europa League titles and is currently in the Champions League group stage with Villarreal.
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