Newcastle suffer setback as Emery confirms he is staying at Villarreal

Newcastle United’s new Saudi Arabian-led owners have had a painful setback after Unai Emery decided against accepting an invitation to become the club’s manager.

Emery had indicated he was prepared to leave Villarreal for St James’ Park but the former Sevilla, Paris Saint‑Germain and Arsenal head coach began having second thoughts after news of the proposed switch leaked on Tuesday.

By Wednesday lunchtime Emery had released a statement committing his future to Villarreal and Newcastle were reopening talks with Eddie Howe. The former Bournemouth manager impressed during interviews with Amanda Staveley, the director responsible for running the club on a daily basis, and was regarded as the second-choice candidate after an extensive process in which, among others, Paulo Fonseca, Lucien Favre and Roberto Martínez were spoken to.

Howe is believed to have presented Newcastle with a blueprint for extracting the team, second-bottom of the Premier League and without a win, from relegation danger but any appointment is unlikely before the match at Brighton on Saturday.

All decisions made by Staveley and her fellow UK-based director Jamie Reuben have to be approved by the Saudis and Yasir al-Rumayyan, the nonexecutive chairman, may wish to examine the credentials of alternative contenders.

As late as Tuesday evening it seemed Staveley had presided over quite a coup in enticing Emery but after Villarreal’s home Champions League win against Young Boys the Spaniard held talks with his board and decided to stay put.

Emery had been upset and disconcerted to find himself facing awkward questions about Newcastle before and after such an important European game and was also understood to be concerned at being in the dark as to the identities of the director of football and chief executive yet to be appointed at St James’ Park.

Although Newcastle attempted to resurrect the deal it was soon apparent they would not, after all, be paying Villarreal about £6m in compensation. Tentative plans for Emery to preside over training before the Brighton trip were abandoned.

“Villarreal CF is my home and I am 100% committed,” Emery said on social media. “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 [the club president] 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.”


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