Unai Emery to accept Newcastle offer after Meeting Villarreal president

Unai Emery remains Newcastle’s primary target for the managerial vacancy at St James’ Park – and taking charge of Newcastle would see him link up with a former Arsenal player

Unai Emery remains the frontrunner for the managerial vacancy at St James’ Park.

Emery previously lasted just over a season at Arsenal before he was sacked in November 2019 following a poor string of results.

And if Emery takes over at Newcastle, then he will be pleased with the prospect of working with Joe Willock again, after the pair’s fantastic working relationship together when the 49-year-old boss was at Arsenal.

Willock was handed his debut by legendary boss Arsene Wenger, but the midfielder continued to grow as a player after being handed opportunities to impress under Emery.

However, after losing his place in Mikel Arteta’s side, Willock was loaned to Newcastle for the second half of the previous campaign and was later sold to the club for £25million in the summer transfer window.

Willock would become a mainstay in Emery’s team once more if he is presented with the chance to take over the helm at St James’ Park.

And Emery has previously made it no secret he is an admirer of Willock, while commenting on his potential to excel in the Premier League.

In October 2019, Emery said: “He [Willock] deserved to start this season with the first team and with us.

“My decision was after I saw him the last two months of last season working with us, his really big challenge was that Jack Wilshere left here, Aaron Ramsey left, and he had to take that opportunity to be with us.

“The last months of last year was the moment I spoke with him, and said: ‘For you, it is a big challenge in the new season to do differently and really show us you can take their position in this squad’.

“Willock is really, really improving a lot – sometimes by being in the starting XI or off the bench with good impact.

“I told him he is improving, but he can’t stop that improvement. We are working with him to improve even more.

However, Reports emerged over the course of Tuesday claiming Newcastle were closing in on Emery as they look to appoint a high-profile head coach to lead their new project following their Saudi takeover.

After leading Villarreal to a Champions League win over Young Boys on Tuesday night, Emery added fuel to the fire, refusing to rule out a move to St James’ Park.

He said: “There has been interest but no offer. I have been concentrating on the game tonight and I am happy at Villarreal. If there is an offer, I would speak with Fernando Roig.

“I would have respect for the squad and the club. It is not that I close or open the door.”

Those comments made it appear very likely Emery was going to walk away from his project at Villarreal, but this morning brings fresh news.

As reported elsewhere, Emery has held a positive meeting with Villarreal president Roig following his side’s win over Young Boys.

The Basque coach is said to be pleased with how his side reacted following a bad run of form on Wednesday night and keen to see out the project he is currently overseeing in Castellon.

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague also reports that Emery is not convinced by the project at Newcastle.

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