Unai Emery says he feels lucky and respected at Arsenal, and he believes it’s the first time he’s really had the chance to execute a long-term project at a club.
A year on from Unai Emery being named as Arsene Wenger’s successor at Arsenal, the Gunners’ season sits on a knife edge. Finishing just one place higher in the league than under Wenger, Emery’s side missed out on Champions League through the top four. They’re now relying on winning the Europa League to qualify for next season’s competition.
Nonetheless, Emery doesn’t seem to feel like his job is in the balance. He suggested in a recent interview with Cadena Ser that he feels he has a bit more freedom to develop his project with Arsenal than at other clubs.
“I was lucky to replace Arsene Wenger, it will be impossible to be here as long as he was because I think the long stays for managers in football are over,” Emery said. “In the middle of the season, I talked to them (the Arsenal hierarchy), up until now I won thinking that one day I had to leave the club.
“Here it’s a club project, it’s the first time it happens to me, I feel respected and I want to be able to develop the project.”
If the last 23 years are anything to go by, Emery will be given a proper opportunity to execute his vision for the team.
The problem is that the head coach is going to find it a lot harder if Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League. The summer transfer budget will be smaller, players will have less desire to join, and Emery will have to make do with more limited options. The Europa League final is clearly going to be a pivotal moment in his time with the club.
The 47-year-old admitted Arsenal aren’t where they want to be right now, and they need to make progress starting with that final.
“We are in the process of recovering what Arsenal was and being among the top 4,” Emery continued. “We need to go a step further, we are evaluating the work from the club, the final against Chelsea is an opportunity to do something nice and hopefully win it, it would be nice to qualify for the Champions League.”