Aston Villa hand Unai Emery five-year contract as Champions League looms

<span>Unai Emery has signed a contract to stay at <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> until 2029.</span><span>Photograph: Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC/Getty Images</span>

Unai Emery has signed a five-year contract with Aston Villa until 2029 in a major boost for the club as they prepare for their first season in the Champions League.

Villa’s co-owners, Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, made it their top priority to secure Emery with a new long‑term deal this summer after an excellent Premier League campaign. Villa finished fourth in the league, which meant qualifying for Europe’s premier competition for the first time since 1982-83, the season after they won the European Cup.

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Emery has transformed the club’s fortunes since his appointment in October 2022, when they were at risk of relegation to the ­Championship, and he has been rewarded by being given total autonomy. He works closely with the president of football, Monchi, and the director of football operations, Damian Vidagany.

“We are building something special here at Aston Villa with Unai at its core and we are delighted that he has signed a new deal,” Sawiris, the Villa chairman, said. “As we move into our historic, 150th anniversary year, there is a lot to look forward to with Unai at the helm.”

Last month Villa triggered an extension until 2027 in Emery’s pre­vious contract to ward off interest from clubs, including Bayern Munich, but they had always planned to discuss a longer deal in the close season.

“We are really excited to continue this journey with no limits to our dreams,” the Villa manager said. “I am very happy to take this step and the responsibility of leading this club.”

Ross Barkley could be one of ­Villa’s first signings this summer, with the midfielder close to ­joining from rele­gated Luton. The 30-year-old spent the 2020-21 season on loan at Villa Park from Chelsea, making 24 ­appearances, but is poised to return to the club on a permanent basis for a modest fee.