Emery admits to discussing Madrid with Neymar but offered no transfer adviceThe former Paris Saint-Germain boss, who is now in charge of Arsenal, claims the Brazilian is more than capable of making his own future decisions
Arsenal manager Unai Emery has revealed that a chance meeting with Manchester City star David Silva in a lift helped to convince him that the time was right for a Premier League post.
The Spaniard has spread his wings outside of his homeland in the past, taking in spells with Spartak Moscow and Paris Saint-Germain.
It was after the decision was taken by his employers in Ligue 1 not to renew his contract that the 47-year-old began considering other options.
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An opening at Arsenal presented itself as they prepared to move on from 22 years of Arsene Wenger, with Emery offered the opportunity to follow in some illustrious footsteps.
He jumped at the chance to link up with the Gunners, with Silva – a man he had worked with during a spell at Valencia – having previously talked up life in England.
Emery told Cadena Cope: “At the end of last season, I met David Silva in an elevator in Valencia and he said: 'Coach if you can, you should go to England.”
The City midfielder, who is a two-time Premier League title winner, is not the only man to have pushed Emery towards English football either.
He added: “I remember when [Spanish goalkeeper] Cesar arrived at Valencia after a season at Tottenham and he told me that if one day I could, I should go to the Premier League.”
Having taken the plunge and embraced that challenge, Emery is currently thriving in new surrounds.
His reign opened with back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and Chelsea, but he has not come unstuck since then.
A 2-2 draw away at Manchester United on Wednesday extended an unbeaten sequence to 20 games in all competitions, allowing a coach experiencing Premier League life for the first time to revel in a demanding role.
“I can only say very positive things of my stay here from the first day up to now,” Emery added.
“I have found a lot of support when it comes to the day-to-day.
“They are very respectful. The coaching staff is very happy here. It's a very competitive league. Each team has good qualities and I'm really enjoying it.”
While positive progress is being made at home and abroad, Emery is reluctant to get too far ahead of himself and concedes that challenging Pep Guardiola’s defending champions for the English top-flight crown will be a big ask.
He said: “It's very difficult.
“He [Guardiola] has created an incredible team.
“They play marvellous football. They are proving in England that they are very difficult to beat.”
Arsenal, who sit fifth in the table at present, will be back in action on Saturday when they welcome struggling Huddersfield to Emirates Stadium.