sport news Aston Villa give Unai Emery total control -and he's planning big changes trends now
A photo posted on Aston Villa's Twitter page at 3.01pm on November 2 is a perfect illustration of the power Unai Emery holds at his new club.
In plush surroundings, a smiling Emery is pictured alongside Nassef Sawiris, the club's co-owner, as they hold the claret-and-blue shirt.
The message was clear: Emery was hand-picked by Sawiris and fellow billionaire, Wes Edens, and would be trusted to do things his way.
A picture on Aston Villa's Twitter page perfectly illustrates Unai Emery's power at his new club
The former Arsenal boss was hand-picked by the Midlands club's co-owner Nassef Sawiris
Emery is the fourth boss under Sawiris and Edens, who rescued the club from near-extinction in 2018, but he has the strongest pedigree so his influence is greater than that of his predecessors.
Though the ill-fated signing of Philippe Coutinho was driven by Steven Gerrard, the former England captain did not exert this sort of control. Perhaps no Villa manager has since Martin O'Neill, who led the club from 2006 to 2010.
For proof, just take a look at Villa's transfer strategy so far this window.
They have already signed Alex Moreno, a 29-year-old left back from Real Betis, even though Villa bought another 29-year-old left back, Lucas Digne, from Everton just a year ago and made him one of their best-paid players.
The arrival of Moreno places a question mark against the future of Digne, whose defensive qualities have not convinced Emery. On the opposite flank, it will be interesting to discover Emery's long-term plan for Matty Cash, who no longer seems an automatic choice.
Among Emery's transfer targets are midfielder Matteo Guendouzi (right) and Arnaut Danjuma
Danjuma and Guendouzi worked with him at previous clubs and adore their former boss
Among Villa's other targets include Matteo Guendouzi, Arnaut Danjuma and Gerard Deulofeu. Danjuma and Guendouzi have worked with Emery at Villarreal and Arsenal respectively and adore their former manager.
Chief executive Christian Purslow has rebuilt the club impressively, pushing ahead with the redevelopment of Villa Park, which will see capacity grow to 50,000.
Sporting director Johan Lange's data-driven approach has brought structure to the recruitment process at every level. Yet the first team is Emery's show now, and there will be yet more changes in this window and in the summer.
The Basque is a workaholic and 13-hour days are the