Aston Villa target Unai Emery in clash of Premier League return

Aston Villa are in advanced negotiations over a move to bring former Arsenal manager Unai Emery back to the Premier League.

Villa are ready to pay the £5.2m compensation needed to steer Emery away from Villarreal and appoint him as Steven Gerrard’s successor, with further talks expected tonight.

Their move for Emery, who was sacked by Arsenal in November 2019 after 18 months in charge, comes after Villa pulled out of talks with Sporting head coach Ruben Amorim earlier on Monday.

Emery rejected an approach from Newcastle last year but the Spaniard is believed to be seriously considering a proposal from Villa owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens.

Reports in Spain have suggested Emery could make a decision on his future in the coming hours.

The 50-year-old’s reputation across Europe remains high and in his first season at Villarreal he guided the club to the Europa League final where they beat Manchester United on penalties.

His most impressive achievements were with Sevilla, where he won three successive Europa League trophies, while winning the Ligue 1 title and two French Cups with Paris Saint-Germain.

Villa have ambitious plans to eventually feature in European competitions on a regular basis under NSWE and believe Emery could prove a significant coup.

Emery’s current club Villarreal are seventh in the La Liga table, with five wins and three draws from their 11 appearances so far.

They will face Hapoel Beersheba in the Europa Conference League on Thursday night.

Amorim has been another prime target for Villa, but on Monday proposed negotiations with his representatives were called off.

Villa sacked Gerrard last week after an alarming start to the season but picked up a 4-0 win over Brentford on Sunday under acting director Aaron Danks.

They are 14th in the Premier League table and will face Newcastle this weekend.

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