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3 Nov, 2021 11:16

Spanish manager Emery to reject Newcastle job because of ‘confused vision’ at Saudi-owned club – reports

Spanish manager Emery to reject Newcastle job because of ‘confused vision’ at Saudi-owned club – reports

Spaniard Unai Emery will snub an offer to manage Newcastle United because of concerns over the Saudi-owned club’s ‘strategy’, it has been claimed. The Premier League club are searching for a new boss after sacking Steve Bruce.

The controversial £305 million ($415 million) takeover at St. James was finally completed last month but the club’s new owners have faced a turbulent first few weeks.

Premier League rivals have already attempted to place barriers to Newcastle’s spending amid fears the North East club – backed by the mammoth largesse of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) – could blow them out of the water with their newly-acquired financial firepower.

Elsewhere, uproar has continued over the human rights aspects of the takeover and allegations of Saudi 'sportswashing'. 

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On the pitch, the owners have taken the decision to dispense with unpopular manager Steve Bruce as the team languishes down in the relegation zone.

Replacing Bruce is now the most urgent task of the ownership group including PIF figure Yasir al-Rumayyan and UK minority shareholders Amanda Staveley and Jamie Reuben.    

It was reported this week that the club had settled on two main candidates: former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe and current Villarreal manager Emery.

The latter – who has previously worked at Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal, as well as enjoying a successful spell at Sevilla – was widely tipped as the frontrunner, with some reports claiming he would be installed by the time Newcastle travel to Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday.


However, those reports appear to have been premature, with respected Spanish football insider Guillem Balague telling the BBC that the 50-year-old would reject Newcastle’s overtures.

According to Balague, “there was the lack of a clear vision from the club” in their planning.

“If you want him, do you approach him in such a rushed way, without an official offer and with it coming out from the English side that it is all practically done?” Balague said.

“Also, the different number and style of the candidates being considered appears to be a sign of a confused vision. That was a concern to some of those involved in conversations with the club hierarchy.

“I don't see this move happening now this season. Maybe next year when the club’s structure is clearer and the vision more defined.”

Balague also dismissed the idea that Emery's wage demands had meant a deal had stalled, saying that money had "nothing to do with" his supposed rejection of an offer. 

Emery confirmed this week that Newcastle had “shown interest” but asserted that he was committed to leading Villarreal out for their crucial Champions League meeting with Young Boys on Tuesday, which they won 2-0.

Villarreal president Fernando Roig had said on Tuesday that he was confident Emery would stay, despite the potential lure of the riches on offer at Newcastle.

“Unai has a contract with us and contracts are there to be fulfilled,” Roig said. “We hope that we will be able to see that contract through until the end. I have no doubts about his professionalism in that respect.”

Local reports on Wednesday indicated that there was confusion at Newcastle regarding Emery’s stance.

“As of last night, NUFC believed Unai Emery wanted job & expected details to be finalized,” wrote local Daily Mail reporter Craig Hope.

“They hoped he would meet players Thurs PM. As of this morning… reports from Spain would suggest he's pulled out. That was news to some at NUFC earlier but phone calls being exchanged now.”

Emery, who also managed Spartak Moscow in an ill-fated spell in 2012, has won the UEFA Europa League on a record four occasions – three times with Sevilla and last season with Villarreal.

He also guided Arsenal to the final of the competition in 2019, where they were beaten by Chelsea, but his time in London was seen as a failure before he was sacked in November of the same year. 

If Emery is to reject their offer, Newcastle’s new owners will be increasingly desperate to bring in a similarly respected alternative to arrest the alarming start to the season which has seen them pick up just four points from 10 games, leaving them second-bottom of the table and six points from safety.   

On the plus side, anyone taking the reins at St. James’ Park can expect to have considerable funds at their disposal to furnish on new playing talent, with some estimates suggesting more than £100 million could be available for the January transfer window.

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