A surprise for some, but confirmation for everyone else.
After days of speculation, Arsenal have officially announced that former Paris-Saint German coach Unai Emery will succeed Arsène Wenger as their new coach.
Rumors had been swirling for days in the British media that the Spaniard — who has previously guided PSG to the Ligue 1 title and won three consecutive Europa League titles with Sevilla — would replace the long-serving Frenchman.
On Wednesday, Emery said in an official statement: “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.
“I’m very excited to be given the responsibility to start this important new chapter in Arsenal’s history.”
‘Ideal’ person for the job
Emery announced his decision to leave PSG last month after two seasons in charge.
As well as a league title, he also won four domestic cups with the big-spending Parisians.
PSG President Al-Khelaifi described Emery’s decision not to renew his contract as a “huge disappointment for Paris, for the club, for the players and for the fans.”
On Wednesday, Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said the 46-year-old was the “ideal” person for the north Londoners.
“Unai has an outstanding track record of success throughout his career, has developed some of the best young talent in Europe and plays an exciting, progressive style of football that fits Arsenal perfectly,” Gazidis said in a statement.
“His hard-working and passionate approach and his sense of values on and off the pitch make him the ideal person to take us forward.”
A surprise appointment?
Until the beginning of this week, former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta — currently an assistant manager at English Premier League champions Manchester City — was widely regarded as favorite for the job.
According to the Times, the Spaniard was stunned to learn of Arsenal’s decision to hire Emery, having even discussed transfer targets with the club.
Wenger left Arsenal at the end of the season after 22 years in charge.
The 68-year-old won three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups with the club, but in the last two seasons had failed to qualify for the lucrative Champions League.
Emery, who has also managed Almeria, Valencia and Spartak Moscow, will be charged with guiding Arsenal back to the Premier League’s top four and the Champions League.
His first match in charge will be on 26 July, when Arsenal take on Atletico Madrid in a pre-season friendly in Singapore. Two days later the Gunners will face PSG in Singapore.