Sevilla’s Unai Emery may have come as a surprise choice to take the reins at Paris Saint-Germain, the current French champions, who have indeed won the League for the past four seasons. But Emery, who was linked with a slew of clubs last year, does come to the French capital with a wealth of experience.
Aged just 44 it’s remarkable to think he has already coached five different teams. Emery laid down much of his foundations with Valencia but it is his time spent at Sevilla, winning an unprecedented three Europa League titles in a row, which rubber-stamped his entry to PSG.
So what should PSG expect from Emery and what should Emery expect from PSG? Emery is perhaps of the best coaches in Europe who deals with small details, gathering players together, giving motivational talks – and he is also integral with club academies. He is therefore fortunate that PSG run one of the very best academies in Europe and this should work hand in hand with the new man on the bench.
When analysing PSG’s fortunes fans of the club have gone from despair to expectance and it’s easy to see why when your team has won 12 trophies in the past four years. With a seemingly bottomless pit of funds Emery will be expected to deliver and the genuine pressure on the former Real Sociedad player will be to hit the season running, such was Laurent Blanc’s vast success at the club.
One could compare Emery’s situation with Pep Guardiola’s when the former Barcelona trainer took over at Bayern Munich. Both clubs had just had record breaking seasons, and the question is where does the new man take the club from there?
For Emery it’s slightly easier on paper since PSG, unlike Bayern, are still chasing the one trophy that has eluded them – the Champions League. Ultimately this will be Emery’s projected target. For now and this season the ambition will be to have a successful domestic campaign as PSG look to threaten Lyon’s consecutive League-winning run of seven titles in a row.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaving for the Premier League and Manchester United there does feel a gaping hole up front and it will be interesting to see who Emery will draft in to replace him. One thing is for sure and that is despite past successes Emery’s time at PSG could well define him and his future in coaching. Now more than ever he will realise that with the budget of PSG and the expectancy on the team, he has cracked the big time in Europe. It’s time to take his chance.