Aston Villa extend Unai Emery’s contract as European clubs circle

<span>Unai Emery is hoping to lead <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Aston Villa;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Aston Villa</a> to Champions League qualification.</span><span>Photograph: Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC/Getty Images</span>

Aston Villa have triggered the one-year option in Unai Emery’s contract to extend his stay until at least 2027, in the face of interest from Bayern Munich.

Emery is on course to lead Villa into the Champions League and, after reaching the Europa ­Conference League semi-finals, he could deliver the club’s first major trophy since 1996. Villa host Olympiakos in the first leg of the Conference League semi-finals next month. After victory over Bournemouth on Sunday, Emery underlined his commitment to the club. “I am focused here, 100%,” he said.

Emery has transformed Villa since succeeding Steven Gerrard 18 months ago – he led Villa to seventh last season and could guide them to a top-four finish this campaign. Villa are six points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham, albeit Spurs have two games in hand. Emery’s impressive work is thought to have piqued interest from not only Bayern but other clubs, including Barcelona.

Since Emery’s appointment at Villa Park, only Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool have accumulated more Premier League points. Villa, who host Chelsea on Saturday hoping to tighten their grip on the top four, have in effect given Emery total autonomy as a reward for recasting the club’s fortunes.

It is thought Villa’s co-owners, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, plan further talks this summer, at the end of what promises to be a memorable campaign.