Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague has provided fascinating insight for Aston Villa fans on what to expect from new boss Unai Emery.
Villa confirmed the appointment of the Spanish tactician earlier this week and he will begin work on November 1, becoming Steven Gerrard’s long-term successor.
Given the success that he has enjoyed at the top level throughout his managerial career in spells with Valencia, Sevilla, Paris Saint-Germain and Villarreal, there is real excitement and optimism around what Emery can bring to Villa and where we can go under his stewardship.
Balague has added intriguing detail on how the former Arsenal boss might approach the job and how he perceives Villa having decided to leave his post at Villarreal for a return to England.
“He comes to Aston Villa a wiser, older man, better prepared following his bruising spell at Arsenal, revitalised by his success at Villarreal and raring to go to help reignite the fortunes of a massive club,” Balague wrote in his BBC Sport column. “Above all, what he sees at Villa is huge potential, a sleeping giant with an extensive and deeply loyal fanbase and a squad that he can improve almost straight away.
“Much of the talk has been about a planned, ambitious project rather than a quickfire quest for glory – a plan that in the first instance will hopefully establish Villa as a regular top-half-of-the-table side before launching a push for bigger and better things. Emery will need time, but he has the commitment and resolve to take Villa where they want to be.
“It will be a project that will see him as manager, as Villa’s first choice in that role, and one who will have a valued and definitive input in the important decisions – all the things he felt he did not fully have at Arsenal.
“He will now attempt to do what he did at Villarreal. He will try to instil order, identity and that same winning mentality by ensuring that his side will be as strong physically and mentally as they can possibly be, as well as tactically flexible, with a genuine belief that on their day there is not a side in the world they are not capable of beating.”
While it’s easier said than done, those are key issues that Villa need our new coach to address and fix, and so it will be fascinating to see how that plan is put into action and the backing that Emery receives from ownership to make it happen.
One of the key criticisms of Gerrard was that he failed to implement and establish his identity on his side and there was no real style of play or improvement through his coaching that filtered through to the players.
Emery will hopefully have more success in those vital areas, and we’re certainly not looking for a short-term fix so it’s about lasting progression and moving us in the right direction over the course of his tenure.
His style of management and the communication of his ideas and tactical decisions promise to be captivating, and there is real anticipation over his unveiling press conference next week.
Emery is a top-class appointment from Villa, and based on Balague’s insight above, it’s a decision that will hopefully lay real foundations if given time and backed properly to transform us into a side capable of pushing on and competing much higher up the Premier League table as well as in cup competitions.