Unai Emery’s decision to leave Villarreal for Aston Villa has stoked fears in Spain that the Premier League is becoming a de facto Superleague, but the Basque manager insists it is not about the league but rather the project.
The Yellow Submarine are in contention for a European place this season in La Liga, with ambitions to challenge for the fourth spot. They also have a decent chance of winning another European title in the Europa Conference League. Meanwhile Aston Villa sit 16th in the Premier League. Diario AS asked him why he left.
“Because of the greatness of this club. This club has a Champions League and not every club can say so. It is true that they won it in 1982, a long time ago, but it tells you about the history of this club. So, when this club is presented to you, the credentials it offers and the ambition that its leaders show me, it is a challenge for me, a big challenge. I have always wanted to take on or been attracted to challenges, where the greatest difficulties motivate me, and Aston Villa gave me that possibility.”
For much of the last decade, many in Spain have seen La Liga at least on a par with the Premier League. Spain’s recent European struggles and the consistent flow of talent, both managerial and in terms of players, have deepened concerns that Spanish football might be falling behind. Emery claims he was attracted by the challenge though.
“Both the Spanish league and the English league are two of the best in the world. But what does the Premier League give me? A project in construction. It is true that Villa are not in Europe, for years the club has been far from competing for titles or participating in Europe regularly, but the project is in construction and logically is being done so with the desire to win a title, of being in Europe. It’s a big challenge but with that goal as a starting point. The club is ambitious, difficult and I took it on from that perspective.”
It should be said that Emery likely has a stone in his shoe with English football. He felt that he never received the time he deserved at Arsenal before being sacked after a single season. Another interpretation of the matter is that Emery wants to prove himself in England and having perhaps achieved as much as he felt he could at Villarreal, Aston Villa gave him the chance to do so.
Source by Football Espana