The Spaniard has been handed a four-year deal to succeed Arsene Wenger
By talkSPORT – @talkSPORT
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Now Unai Emery has been confirmed as the new Arsenal manager, the Gunners squad might want to stock up on their popcorn supplies.
The 46-year-old Spaniard is, like the man he is succeeding at the Emirates Stadium, Arsene Wenger, a football nut.
Former Spain winger Joaquin, who played under Emery at Valencia, told The Guardian: “Emery put on so many videos I ran out of popcorn!
“He’s obsessed with football – it’s practically an illness. He’s one of the best managers I’ve had. I worked with him for three years. I couldn’t handle a fourth!”
A near 22-year stint like Wenger’s may be out of the question then, but Arsenal fans would no doubt settle for a short reign were he to replicate some of the success he has had in his managerial career.
Emery guided his first two clubs Lorca, where he played, and Almeria to promotions to the second and first divisions respectively prior to landing a job at Valencia in 2008.
There were three successive top-three finishes with Los Che before a short-lived, unsuccessful spell at Spartak Moscow that lasted five months.
Back in Spain, Emery restored his reputation by leading Sevilla, whom he joined in 2013, to a trio of Europa League titles, the most recent of which came in a final against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in 2016 before taking the Paris Saint-Germain job.
In France he won the Ligue 1 title and four domestic trophies across a two-year span, but there were also a pair of last-16 Champions League exits.
Here are five things you might not know about the Spaniard:
Football runs in the family
Emery followed his family blood line into the game – both his father and grandfather, named Juan and Antonio respectively, were goalkeepers. The former appeared for several clubs in the Spanish second tier, whilst the latter competed with Real Union in the top division and his uncle Roman played as a midfielder.
Injury calls for managerial role
Emery’s first managerial post was at former Spanish third-tier side Lorca Deportiva, with whom he made more than 30 appearances as a midfielder for before succumbing to a knee injury aged 32 in the 2004/05 season and being offered the coaching job.
During his successful spell in charge of Sevilla, Emery received a nomination for the FIFA Best Coach Award in 2015 – after a fifth-placed finish in LaLiga – but eventually lost out to then Barcelona boss Luis Enrique. He collected gongs for European Coach of the Season in the 2013/14 season and multiple LaLiga Manager of the Month awards at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, while more recently he was awarded the the Trophees UNFP du football, a top manager prize at Paris St Germain.
Benfica, Dnipro and Liverpool were the teams beaten by Sevilla in Europa League finals between 2014 and 2016. The Portuguese giants were defeated 4-2 on penalties after a goalless draw in 2014, before the Ukrainians were downed 3-2 the following year. The hat-trick was completed by coming from behind to beat Liverpool 3-1 in Basel two years ago.
Emery is not the only sporting son from the Basque town of Hondarribia. Golfer Jose Maria Olazabal, Masters winner in 1994 and 1999, also hails from there.