Unai Emery appointed as Arsene Wenger's successor at Arsenal

Emery has become Arsenal's new head coach

Unai Emery appointed as Arsene Wenger's successor at Arsenal
Emery moves to Arsenal following a successful season with PSG | Photo: Getty Images.

Former PSG boss Unai Emery has been chosen as the man to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal

The Gunners announced on Wednesday the appointment of the Spaniard as the club's new head coach.

It seemed certain that Mikel Arteta would take the job, but according to reports Emery made a late charge for the role.

Arteta u-turn

The ex-Arsenal player and Manchester City assistant was originally thought to be the lead candidate to take over at Arsenal, but in a turn of events the job was not offered to Arteta.

He is held in high regard as the next up and coming thing in management, especially having worked under Pep Guardiola at City.

Arteta has no previous experience in managing a team, though, and his appointment would have been a risk. A gamble that Ivan Gazidis has, in the end, turned down.

Following a thorough recruitment process lead by Gazidis, Raul Sanllehi, head of football relations and Sven Mislintat, head of recruitment, the proposition of Emery was presented to majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

In a change of heart, the club then moved to appoint the 46-year-old Spaniard rather than their former captain, Arteta.

Gazidis explained: "We conducted a confidential, wide-ranging and rigorous search involving extensive background references, data and video analysis, and personal meetings with all the candidates we shortlisted.

"All were interested in the position and we were unanimous in our choice of Unai to drive the next chapter of our history.”

Previous experience

Emery steps into the head coach role at the Emirates having just won the domestic treble with PSG. He coasted to the Ligue 1 title, winning the league by 13 points ahead of Monaco who had beaten his side to the trophy the season before.

The Spanish manager meanwhile led his side to the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue in 2017/18.

Before that he won three Europa League titles on the spin with Sevilla - winning the continental competition in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Emery has also had spells with Lorca Deportiva, Almeria, Valencia and Spartak Moscow. At Almeria he took them into La Liga for the first time, whilst also achieving three consecutive third-placed finishes with Valencia.

There appears to be split opinion among Arsenal fans over the Spaniard's appointment, but a history of winning trophies and a win percentage of 76% at PSG presents a case for him being a good appointment by Arsenal's board.

His success at PSG came with a huge budget and it is thought Arsenal will only have around £50m to spend this summer before player sales so this job will very much be a different proposition for Emery.  

He is not fluent in English but that is not thought to be a problem as the Gunners moved to appoint Emery after his contract with PSG was not renewed after the climax of the season.

Excitement builds

The announcement came on Wednesday morning, and Emery revealed his delight at being appointed: "I am thrilled to be joining one of the great clubs in the game. Arsenal is known and loved throughout the world for its style of play, its commitment to young players, the fantastic stadium, the way the club is run," he said.

"I’m excited about what we can do together and I look forward to giving everyone who loves Arsenal some special moments and memories," Emery commented. 

Wenger left Arsenal following 22 years at the club at the end of the 2017/18 season.

Other candidates for the job had reportedly been Max Allegri of Juventus, former Arsenal player Patrick Vieira and the young Julian Nagelsmann who is currently at Hoffenheim.