Emery was tempted by Newcastle manager's job and reveals how it would have been different to the 'hard work' at Arsenal

Unai EmeryGetty Images

Unai Emery has admitted he was tempted by the opportunity to become Newcastle United manager before deciding to stay as Villarreal coach.

The Spaniard was initially the favourite to become the new Magpies boss after Steve Bruce was sacked following the Saudi takeover at St James' Park.

However, the former Arsenal boss changed his mind and also revealed how the task at Newcastle would have been different to the one he faced when he was at the Emirates Stadium.

What has been said?

‘’The Newcastle project is an attractive project - something to build, different to Arsenal,'’ Emery told The Athletic.

‘’With Arsenal, you first had to knock down the walls, which is hard work, then start to build again. Newcastle, no; it was just about building from the ground up. So it is different, and I liked the idea. But I was also grateful to Villarreal for the opportunity they gave me, and we were in the Champions League.

‘’The Premier League is an attractive league for all us coaches. So when Newcastle called me, I thought a lot about the opportunity to return to England, to a serious project. For me, it was a source of pride, satisfaction — and I appreciated it. The opportunity of a club like Newcastle, what it could turn out to be, it is normal to listen to the offer, to consider it.

‘’I thought about the offer and I spoke with (Villarreal president) Fernando Roig. But I also had to take into account that we were in the Champions League with Villarreal, mid-season. In the end, with a lot of respect for Villarreal, and a lot of respect for Newcastle, I decided to stay here. I am happy and we are doing an important job.’’

Emery's time at Arsenal

Following Arsene Wenger's retirement, Emery became the Gunners' manager in May 2018 after leaving Paris Saint-Germain.

Emery led Arsenal on an 11-game winning streak, their best run of form since 2007, and also on an unbeaten span of 22 matches, as well as reaching the 2019 Europa League final, which they lost to Chelsea 4-1.

However, following a summer transfer window which saw the likes of Nicolas Pepe, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney arrive in north London, Emery was sacked towards the end of 2019 following a winless run of seven games.

He went back to Spain, leading Villarreal to the first European final, where they beat Manchester United on penalties to lift the Europa League in 2021.

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How have Newcastle done since Emery's rejection?

Newcastle settled on appointing former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe in November following Emery's decision to stay in La Liga.

Howe has performed a fine job at St James' Park, with a record of eight wins, five draws and eight defeats, to lead Newcastle nine points clear of the relegation zone.

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