STAYING PUT: Unai Emery ‘100% committed’ to Villarreal
PA - Rafal Oleksiewicz
Newcastle’s hopes of landing Unai Emery as their new boss have been dashed after the Spaniard confirmed he is staying with Villarreal.
Emery was identified by the new Magpies hierarchy as a potential successor to Steve Bruce and confirmed their interest following Villarreal’s Champions League win over Young Boys on Tuesday.
But the former Arsenal boss ruled himself out of the running on Wednesday – his 50th birthday – in a move which installed former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe as the new favourite to take over at St James’ Park.
Emery posted on social media: “No matter how much noise there was yesterday in another country, within the club there was transparency and loyalty with the Roig family and with my squad, which is maximum and for me it is the most important thing.
“Villarreal CF is my home and I am 100 per cent committed. Honestly, I am grateful for the interest of a great club, but even more grateful to be here and that is why I communicated to Fernando Roig my decision to want to continue being part of this project because of the commitment and respect that I perceive from the club and from my players, which is mutual and reciprocal.”
The news will come as a blow to Newcastle’s new owners, who had identified the former Arsenal chief as the most likely candidate to save the club from relegation.
Instead that task looks likely to fall to Howe, who has been out of work since leaving the Cherries in August last year, and is understood to have impressed in talks with the Magpies’ new hierarchy.
Newcastle’s 3-0 defeat to Chelsea at the weekend left them in 19th place in the table, six points adrift of safety and still without a win this season.
Emery had acknowledged Newcastle’s interest on Tuesday, but added that there had been “no offer” and that he remained “focused on Villarreal”.
Despite a disappointing reign at the Emirates Stadium, Emery rebounded by leading Villarreal to seventh place in LaLiga and Europa League glory in his first campaign at the helm.
As well as Howe, Roberto Martinez, Paulo Fonseca and Brendan Rogers are among those to have been linked with the post, as has former boss Rafael Benitez, who is currently under pressure at Everton.
But it appears unlikely that the Magpies will have a new boss in place by the time they head to Brighton this weekend.
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