Emery: Arsenal wanted to give me a new contract

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Unai Emery has confirmed that Arsenal were close to offering him a new contract during as they looked to reward the Spaniard for a solid first season in charge at the club.

Hired to get Arsenal back into the Champions League, Emery led the Gunners to a fifth-place finish in the Premier League and to the final of the Europa League where we lost 4-1.

The Spaniard said that Arsenal “swam to the shore, but died on the beach” in their quest to finish in the top four and pinpointed Eden Hazard’s man-of-the-match performance in Baku as the difference between a return to Europe’s top table and another season in the Europa League.

Emery was sacked in late November after a wretched run of form and has today been succeeded by Mikel Arteta; an appointment he backs.

In a lengthy interview with the BBC, Emery revealed: “I was very satisfied with how things went [in my first season] because I believe we learned how to become a team, at times a team that shone, but a team that was effective and competitive, and a team that in general was showing why Arsenal signed me. I believe we achieved that and we just needed to make that final step.

“This season, theoretically, we also began well and I had the feeling – and so did the club – that the achievements of the previous season were valued and we were now looking to how we could develop together, even to the point where they were looking to offer a renewed contract.

“Then I remember we had one month… At one of the international breaks we were third, and then in the first game after we came back, the frustrations from bad results were beginning to make us worse for the following matches. We were losing confidence, and it’s also true to say we were losing a bit of stability.”

Results-wise, the Gunners made a decent, albeit unspectacular, start to this season. However, spiralled out of control quickly following the 1-0 defeat to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. His players soon found themselves in a confidence rut and with the tide turning against him, Emery admits he wasn’t surprised to become the target of supporter frustration.

“I had friends or people at my side who would say to me, “I can see you’re suffering,” and I said “naturally”. When a coach doesn’t win, he suffers. And when he doesn’t win two, or three or four he suffers more. We had to win to regain our emotional equilibrium, to get rid of that frustration and we couldn’t.

“And what is true is the social mass of Arsenal, which is very big, couldn’t see it, couldn’t connect with what was happening and it is true that in this situation, as happens in every country and with every team, the coach finds himself targeted.”

Emery also touched on his relationship with Mesut Ozil confirming he was eager for the German to dovetail with Alex Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but that he wasn’t necessarily the right fit when aggression was required.

“I’ve had a lot of conversations with Mesut Ozil. He’s a very important player for the team. There are games in which you see Mesut’s brilliance, linking with the attack. But also I had to find players around him so he felt comfortable.

He added: “Ozil is a very important player if you can find a way to make it work with other players. He has talent that allows other players to be better, but when you want a bit more aggressive pressure he does not have the best qualities for that.”

On leaving the club, Emery penned a classy farewell message to players, staff and fans alike. It’s fair to say he regrets things working out, but he maintains his mastery of English was not a factor in his downfall.

“The language barrier becomes bigger in people’s eyes, because of the results,” he explained.

“I think if the results had been good things would have gone like the previous season – people would have allowed me to make mistakes, and found my English more acceptable than focusing on my mistakes.

“I had conversations with players of 20 minutes or half an hour, practically every week. Individually as well. And when I finished the conversation I went to the delegate of the team and asked if the message had been understood. I wanted to see if the message had gone through, and he always told me ‘Unai, logically there are things that could be better, but everything is understood’.”

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We’d thoroughly recommend reading the full interview, in which Emery also touches on the snowball effect of a loss of confidence in the squad, his appointment of Granit Xhaka and what he plans to do next.

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InTheNorthBank
InTheNorthBank

A lot of respect to the man. Some of the vitriol towards the end was getting unnecessary and he was never anything less than a committed pro. Good luck, Unai!

Mick Malthouse
Mick Malthouse

Contacts. The club said they’d get you new contacts Unai! They were concerned you weren’t seeing very well.
English was always a problem.

Boom Saka Laca
Boom Saka Laca

He’s been very dignified about the whole thing and best of luck to him, but holy Andre Santos – the club wanted to offer him a new contract?! Did they watch the same second half of last season as the rest of us?! What a relief they held their fire…

Bishop
Bishop

This management group is comprised of a bunch of wan£ers. May God save this Club

Arseblog Dog
Arseblog Dog

Bergkamp? We just appointed Arteta mate

Paul Roberts
Paul Roberts

“but holy Andre Santos” that made me laugh a lot, thank you. 🙂

Longbow
Longbow

“Holy Andre Santos” I can’t stop laughing.

goongot
goongot

40m for xhaka and emery’s contract xtended after supposedly spectacular first season !! Wow, i heard enough shit for today

Ballz
Ballz

The club is being run by idiots

Oregoon

Right. We get a lot of “believe in the process” bs from the club. Then you hear things like that and any optimism turns to apprehension.

Ballz
Ballz

Why the f**k would they offer him a new contract after the first season? We played absolutely horrendous football for the entire season, even during our unbeaten run which was mostly down to Aubameyang and Lacazette’s individual brilliance. We were shit and never looked convincing even when we won games.
Also, why would they reward him for basically finishing in the same position as Wenger did? Is the club being run by idiots? Do they even watch a single game?
Arsenal’s fan base love the club because of their identity and reputation for playing beautiful, attacking football under Wenger. That’s it!! This should be the bare minimum for any Arsenal coach. Their objective SHOULD be to win while playing attractive football, period!! Emery was an absolute failure in both regards and these idiots wanted to reward him. Whoever proposed that should be fired.

Arseblog Dog
Arseblog Dog

They didn’t offer him a new contract though.

Scott
Scott

Er no. There was an Arsenal Football Club before Arsene Wenger. We were equally happy winning 1-0 every week under George Graham. Winning, or at least competing, is what it’s all about.

Mintoes
Mintoes

@scott – Exactly.

Snc
Snc

A good man. He tried though some of his tactics and starting line up were questionable at times. It was never easy, these players did just ok during Wenger final season, they started brightly with Emery and then just went downhill from the last 10 games of last season till his last game against frankfurt. Freddie took the job, didnt do much better either. Now its Arteta. So lets see if these players can perform, its abt time they show some fight otherwise, we need to start looking and question these players cuz seriously, we cant keep gg on in circle replacing managers and hoping players somehow perform.they either show up on the pitch now or get out of north london.

Viva la prof
Viva la prof

When he puts it like that I feel bad for saying mean things, but the football was a disaster. I understand to win titles maybe you have to look bad and win like Billy Hoyle, but if we have to lose all the time looking like headless chickens I’d rather look good and lose like Wesley Snipes

Merlin’s Panini
Merlin’s Panini

I like Unai. Seems like a nice man. He did well at the start but several things didn’t go in his favour and I feel that knocked him off track and he became too cautious. Never really played great football but I think the games against Brighton and Palace last season were the real turning point. Good luck to him wherever he ends up. He’s always carried himself with dignity.

Greg in Seattle
Greg in Seattle

Agree that this is a sympathetic interview and I’m glad he was able to express his thoughts on how it went down. I am shocked that a new contract was on offer, if true.

What’s forgotten is that he ran this team like a mid-table, sorta-talented club, adjusting tactics weekly to meet the opponent to scratch out results at the expense of identity. What’s also forgotten is that we shipped an atrocious number of goals under him, just as his PSG teams did, without it being the result of a flowing offense – just a mangled midfield. Finally, kudos for unearthing Guendouzi, but anti-kudos for writing his name first on every team sheet for 18 months.

Drogheda Gunner
Drogheda Gunner

The thing that annoyed me about him is he genuinely thought he was doing a good job by coming 5th last year, this is arsenal football club not spurs we won’t be happy till we’re competing for trophies.

Nognir
Nognir

That’s what using a translator does to you. Unai’s thoughts are quite easy to understand in this piece. I’ve read his countless ramblings without getting head or tail of what he wants to tell. In this piece he comes across as erudite.

Ricardo
Ricardo

You never really know what happens behind the scenes, but despite all the criticism he is a good manager and a gentleman.

Wish him well.

GoonerNJ
GoonerNJ

In retrospect, I wonder how much sitting 3rd in the table prior to the international break, as he mentioned, played into his inability to find a way to stem the tide of the disastrous run that followed. That we were third had as much to do with the fact that Sp*rs, ManU, and Chelsea couldn’t get out of their own way at the time as it did with our run of form to that point. Between the bottom falling out of our own play and other clubs finding their own form (hello Leicester City), the drop in the table was swift, merciless, and possibly bewildering.

goonerink
goonerink

the only ‘new’ contract i would have offered him would one where he takes an 80% pay cut with that withheld pay being tripled and given to him if he achieves his goals.
also a sly no compensation sacking clause inserted in small print

Twatsloch
Twatsloch

“swam to the shore, but died on the beach”

Good metaphor. The first season looked good though. Promising at least. Then the wheels came off. It’s a shame it didn’t work out out but it was the right decision to let him go.

All the best to him wherever he goes.

Fatgooner
Fatgooner

If it’s true that he was offered a new contract after Bacu then Raul and co should be sacked by Josh. Emery is wrong about when the rot set in: it began towards then end of last season, over that last 6 games. The way we capitulated against the likes of Palace and Brighton showed that he had lost control. That’s why he should have gone in the summer.

It’s almost funny.

Dom47
Dom47

Totally agree fg.

Mintoes
Mintoes

Also agree about end of last season. But I’m one of the few who would have given him to the end of this season to try and finally figure it out. Whoever came right after wenger was always going to face an uphill battle with the mess that was waiting for them in that squad. My worry is that under these kse fucktards we’ll become a facsimile of utd and the glazers. Chopping and changing every other year because they don’t know how to run a club like Arsenal.

Drogheda Gunner
Drogheda Gunner

No he lost the dressing room and the fans trust

Richard
Richard

The man’s just not seeing things realistically. In the end of his interview he says he was brought down for one bad month and thinks last season was a success. To even think about rewarding him with a new improved contract proves that our management is clueless. Increasingly it feels like Sanllehi can’t have been an important part in Barca’s success, rather he was just there along for the ride.
Under Wenger – a brilliant man and manager – we became less decisive and ruthless, but we still played some nice football. Under Emery we slowly began to forget how to play football at all. At first it was effective, later one despite a strengthtened squad it was not. Problem is he let the confidence slip away so much that it’s having all kinds of knock on effects and half our squad probably needs a fresh start elsewhere. He has ruined young players and he has ruined experienced players. Don’t even start me on Xhaka and his values.

Drogheda Gunner
Drogheda Gunner

And we lost Ramsey as a result. This guy wouldn’t nó talent if it smacked him on the face.

Axedsoul
Axedsoul

Thank you Unai, you’ve always been a true gentleman. Wish things didn’t turn so sour and we could’ve had a great relationship with you. All the best!

meaner
meaner

Insisted to play from the back when the defenders were not comfortable. Opponents saw that and played high pressing football, the clown kept playing the tactics and opponents produced a record high figures shot on targets. A complete clown.

Rich
Rich

Emery is a class act, Unfortunately he couldn’t keep the club treading water for long enough through a difficult transition, and fans unfortunately never felt a connection to him.

He conducted himself with dignity and respect, and I was sad that the fans didn’t support him for a little longer, but such is the apathy at Arsenal right now, his position became untenable.

Been impressed with Arteta’s interview, hopefully he’ll be shown a bit more patience, because I have a feeling he’s going to need it.

Tim
Tim

In the full interview he states that Raul told him ha had to Sack him because “the situation had become unsustainable as regards to the protests of a section of the fans”. I hope this was just Raul trying to sweeten the pill, otherwise it means that all that’s happening now – i.e. Arteta – is just a reaction to “noise” and has nothing to do with planning and following a strategy… again.

Caligunner
Caligunner

Lol you think Raul really knows what he’s doing ? Look at the transfer business this past summer and where he spent the money lol we all know what we needed since the end of Wengers run but I give Raul the benefit of the doubt he had to see for himself. After 1.5 years to see our central defenders and CM he decided to spend a bulk of the funds on a winger? If Pepe came off strong than fine but what makes it worse is that he is struggling to adapt. A teenage CB that barely has any experience that we can’t even use? LB before a backup RB and cover for bellerin as he recovers from a major injury?

Tim
Tim

I did write “I hope” but the hope is indeed very, very faint…

Mintoes
Mintoes

@tim – that’s exactly what’s happening. Those idiots will react to every bit of fan moaning because they can’t afford a half empty stadium under their debt/leverage business model that they’ve copied from the glazers. They have zero vision for our club other than we must finish 4th every year to sustain their baseline profit margins. I long for the day when they are not in control.

Frosch
Frosch

Mr Emery always behaved classy right until the very end, so I wish him well. But this analysis shows exactly why we had to find another coach. Claiming that all was well when we were sitting in 3rd place, after some shaky wins against some of the worst teams in the league – while having developed no visible plan and no identity so far and having utterly capitulated the season before – shows that he could not analyse the situation properly and there was no hope of him turning things around.

Badaab
Badaab

“Solid first season at the club” belies the problems of the FEC’s lack of interest in anything other than their own positions, power, and bank accounts.

Santori
Santori

Things went south very quickly following Blades victory over us.

And he never really got to grips with the slide.

I think his focus (which is the worry with Arteta) was motivation and tactics where the real problem was discipline and focus.

no matter what tactical set up, it is POINTLESS if the players on hand do not execute it or do it only sporadically over 15 minutes before lapsing.

and that is part of current problem. Freddy did not address it preferring to be everyone’s chum (why should he? he won’t want to risk popularity given temporal aspect of his job)

nor would the players pay respect to freddy knowing this.

Whether they will give the inexperienced Arteta the respect or whether Arteta can draw and enforce a line in the sand is also a massive question.

He certainly was far from successful leading us as captain during Wenger’s struggles to right the ship post Arteta, Metersecker appointment 2011 onwards…unless in the minds of certain selective memories who prefer to imagine things more rosy than they were now in hindsight.

Unai for his part is a much more experience manager with both Big star studded teams and smaller invested teams.

And he had a hard time righting the ship because he could not instill the fear that say a Sir Alex or a Simeone prob could.

And that IMO is really what this team needs because they are punching way below weight given hos Sheffield, Wolves and Leicester are doing with far more humble resource and greater effort.

The worry is that Arteta like Unai will attempt to emulate Pep and play City’s style without the benefit of the technical players they have. And of course that he will try (like Freddy and Unai …and Wenger) to hold carrots to ‘galvanise’ this team instead of also crack the whip.

Unai should be OK and bounce back with another decent team in europe (maybe Italy where Milan is a faltering project at the moment with usual suspect Gazidis?)

BUT we are kidding ourselves if we think Arteta is going to be the ‘messianical annointed one”…he has a massive learning curve ahead of him having never really managed a team let alone peaked behind the skirt of Pep at City, where he was mainly respected bc of the clout the boss had on those players.

One practical solution if he is wise of course is to get himself a VERY strong second that can enforce things for him. Who that is I do not know but the senior players we have need to know we are not afraid to change things.

Problem of course being they also know we have limits buying now likely outside of CL (possibly Europa) and commited to 20m each window for Pepe/Saliba (one a flop the other existential)

Practical measures prob dictate Arteta try and convince Sanlehi to get say Emre Can this January regardless of if Granit or Torreira leave. This will reinforce the all important midfield section with a player with PL experience and versatilty who may be able to push Ozil further.

Then at least in the summer, we have one of the capability holes filled.

PLUS if we can explore possibly bringing in Saliba (if fit and of course he is yet to fully convince) early as well given poor options at Cback, it may further reduce the work next summer if key players up front leave.

But the other aspect of course is Sanlehi has consolidated power around him with (the useless) Mslintat maneuvered out and the inexperienced Edu appointed to dubious position. How Arteta can politically hold strength against Sanlehi and dictate his way is going to be critical.Again here is where his inexperience may work against him.

Indeed Unai himself is guilty of not being more forceful when coming to transfers druing his short duration at the club. He preferred to leave rope for both Mslintat and Sanlehi to hang. One did. the other cost him.

The days of wenger holding sway on transfers bc of his justifiable clout and track record in market of course long gone. BUT Arteta would be wise to have a bit more say 9than Unai) on the type of player he needs to reconstruct the squad.

We cannot do it wholesale and we will likely be complicated by failure into Europe again so whoever we bring in MUST be properly calibrated, there is little room for mis-steps like Pepe or Luiz.

Over to you Arteta. Wishing him all the best.

joey deacon
joey deacon

“and that is part of current problem. Freddy did not address it preferring to be everyone’s chum (why should he? he won’t want to risk popularity given *temporal* aspect of his job)”

didn’t realise he was a secularist?

Obama Young

There’s a word missing from the very first line of this article:
“…offering him a new contract during as they looked to…”

During the summer? During this season? During last season?
Makes a bit of a difference. None of those possibilities are good, but some are even worse.

Vonnie
Vonnie

I remember a report that some of the hierarchy wanted to extend his contract in the summer, but the idea was overruled by their more sensible colleagues, so thankfully someone had the brains to see what was going on.

Holdenontoarsenal
Holdenontoarsenal

Another example of fan effects. Another class manager trying to make the team better. Yes, a manager must weather the tough times, so also must the fans. I can say with 100% confidence, had Santi stayed fit we would have Wenger as manager and be in a much better place. Had Holding stayed fit we would likely still have a stronger team with Unai. Say what you wish,,,blah blah blah. When the fans shrink the window of patience…the room gets darker more quickly. Arteta…what a studley dudly, may the fleas of a thousand camels reside within the mouths of the naysayers!

Anthony
Anthony

Ever the professional. Yes I wanted him to go, the results were poor and by his own admission, even he could no longer identify with what he was seeing in the performances.

I wish him well, however, I am very pleased with Arteta coming home.

Lord Bendnter
Lord Bendnter

Our players deserve a huge part of the blame as well. I can never overlook that

Chrispy
Chrispy

Clearly a decent man but almost deluded in pretty much everything he said. I wish him well but glad he’s now a footnote in our history.

Marco

Spot on Chrissy. Sometimes used to wonder if he was watching the same game as everybody else.New contract my arse.

Dom47
Dom47

So, first season was good and again fans are to blame for the bad run of form this season that led to his sacking.

Own your farts, Unai. Won’t grow til you do.

VZ1
VZ1

Amazing man… the players betrayed him, were plotting behind his back, humiliated him, and he still protects them!!

Henrik
Henrik

If it was the first of April it would at least be funny. I wouldnt give him a new contract to sell hotdogs. Seriously. Good luck for him anyways for at least wanting us to win even though he could have done a LOT more to make it happen. Mildly and kindly spoken.