Newcastle United have been warned Unai Emery is enjoying life at Villarreal after he was linked with the newly-wealthy Premier League club.
Former Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain boss Emery is said to be a prime target for Newcastle, whose new Saudi majority owners are seeking a successor to Steve Bruce.
According to reports in England on Tuesday, Emery and former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe have both been considered for the job at St James’ Park. Newcastle are said to want Emery in place before Saturday’s game against Brighton and Hove Albion.
Whether Emery is tempted by a return to the Premier League remains to be seen, after he endured a difficult time with Arsenal. He would be inheriting a team who are facing a relegation battle, albeit he would likely have substantial funds for new signings in January.
Villarreal faced a Champions League home game on Tuesday evening against Young Boys, with Emery’s future suddenly clouded in doubt.
Yet Emery, who turns 50 on Wednesday, is content with his current position, according to LaLiga club Villarreal’s president Fernando Roig.
Roig told Spanish broadcaster A Punt Media: “Emery is very happy in Villarreal and has a contract in force.”
The president said it “is not a decision for Villarreal” should Newcastle be willing to pay up his release clause.
Emery was asked about the Newcastle link on Monday, and said: “The truth is that I don’t know anything.”
Bruce was an early casualty of the new regime, with the club seeking a big-name boss to lead them into a fresh era.
Emery won three successive Europa League titles with Sevilla before leaving in 2016 and spending two years at PSG, where he continued to stack up trophies.
The trophies dried up at Arsenal, where he was the man chosen in 2018 to take over from long-serving Arsene Wenger. Emery was sacked in November 2019, after 18 months with the Gunners, but returned to coaching with Villarreal and helped the Spanish club win last season’s Europa League title, beating Manchester United after a marathon penalty shootout.
That secured a Champions League place for this season, with Villarreal sitting second in Group F after three games heading into Tuesday’s round of matches.
Their domestic league form in 2021-22 has so far left a little to be desired, however, with Villarreal winning just two of their opening 11 games in LaLiga, drawing six and losing three, to sit 13th.