No thank you, big clubs! Emery extends Aston Villa contract

Unai Emery this afternoon put pen to paper on a contract extension that will see the new deal take him to 2027 as Head Coach of Aston Villa football club. Many pundits and former players have been claiming that he would leave Villa to coach the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United or Bayern Munich should the offer arrive at his desk. This news however only confirms what Villa fans have believed for a while and that is Unai Emery certainly wants to coach a big club, and that club is Villa.
Lille OSC v Aston Villa: Quarter-final  Second Leg - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24
Lille OSC v Aston Villa: Quarter-final Second Leg - UEFA Europa Conference League 2023/24 / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

It has been a sensational 18 months for Aston Villa since the arrival of Unai Emery and no one could have imagined the sheer uprise in quality on the pitch in that time. Under previous manager Steven Gerrard, the club had registered thirteen wins from a possible forty and Villa were in dire straits. The fans felt disconnected and were witnessing a manager out of his depth take the club backwards with every game.

When Unai Emery arrived at Villa Park there was an instant feeling of hope and optimism amongst the fans. His record in Europe is astonishing, having won the Europa League on four occasions as well as taking PSG to the French title.

It was clear from the first press conference that the connection with the fans in crucial if he is to build a culture of success at a football club and ever since that bond has gone from strength to strength.

Emery ALWAYS acknowledges the fans and their importance before and after matches and as a result the players have followed suit. Whereas prior to Emery's arrival, it was clear the players were looking to avoid interviews and times to meet with fans. Club captain John McGinn is a prime example of this.

Under Gerrard his performances had certainly regressed and there were many fans criticising McGinn for not facing the media and taking responsibility as a leader at the club. Fast forward to the present and McGinn is a clear ambassador for the club who takes each opportunity to connect with the Villa community.

"Since Unai Emery was appointed Head Coach, Aston Villa have taken 115 points from 59 matches."

Sky Sports

And now Villa are in prime position to qualify for the Champions League as they hold a six point lead over Tottenham Hotspur in fifth. This would be a great achievement alone, but the fact that Emery has also guided Villa to a European semi-final in the Europa Conference League in the same season just emphasises the incredible season he and Villa have had.

Villa are also a team that has seen three guaranteed starting players suffer ACL injuries and miss all or the majority of the season as well as other constant injury struggles for the likes of Jacob Ramsey, Alex Moreno and Pau Torres throughout the season.

Whilst many managers of other clubs have been quick to blame fixture congestion and injuries on defeats, Unai Emery has created a no-excuse culture at the club. Defeats have been very few this season and at no point has Emery blamed external factors on those defeats.

He learns from them and rectifies the mistakes made going into the next game. The sign of an ELITE manager. Another sign of an elite manager is the ability to make a group of players improve their ability and knowledge of systems. The squad at Villa is very similar to the one Gerrard had control of.

Emery has made minimal signings and has been able to turn a relegation-threatened team into one of the best in the league through sheer quality coaching and man management. It is well-known that Villa players will sit through very long meetings with Emery and the hard work that he puts in at Bodymoor Heath is what allows the team to perform so well on a consistent basis.

Leon Bailey, Ollie Watkins, Morgan Rogers, Lucas Digne, Youri Tielemans, Matthew Cash
Aston Villa v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League / Visionhaus/GettyImages

The good times are certainly back at Villa Park and the feeling amongst the fans is that this is just the beginning of Villa reaching new heights. This feeling is absolutely cemented by the news that Emery has committed his future to the club by signing this extension until 2027. So what could be next for Emery and the club?

""Emery has made everything behind the scenes on the football side accelerate. This isn't going to be the end of it. They're going to sit down in the summer and extend this further""

Dan Bardell

Of course the goal now is to ensure Villa finish in the top four and with Spurs having a very tough run in it is looking like a win at home to Chelsea on Saturday might just be enough to seal the deal.

A fifth major title in Europe for Emery is obviously something else that would cap a remarkable season and so Villa will again hope to be able to navigate their way through the two-legged semi-final against Olympiacos before heading to Athens for the Europa Conference League final at the end of May.

Thinking more long term, Villa will be looking to become a club that cements their place in European competitions as a minimum.

Aston Villa v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Aston Villa v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

With the Adidas and Betano kit and sponsorship deals, respectively, being or soon to be announced the financial situation at the club is due to improve significantly. Particularly if Villa do hold on to fourth place and qualify for next seasons Champions League.

Emery will be hoping to use said cash to invest in the squad and bring in even further quality to add to an already talented pool of players. With the nature of Emerys position at Villa and his relationship with the owners Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris he will also look to continue to expand his series of collaborative partnerships such as the one currently in place with Spanish side Real Union.

His control at Villa is growing and hence why the announcement of a new contract might not have come as a huge surprise to the fans whilst it might to those supporters of other clubs looking on from the outside.

That level of power and control Emery has at Villa was certainly not the case five years ago at Arsenal and would not have been the case should he have accepted a job at the likes of Bayern Munich, Liverpool or Manchester United where he was heavily linked.

Aston Villa for the Premier League title by 2027? You can guarantee Emery will have it in his thoughts.