What Unai Emery Will Bring to Paris Saint-Germain

We mentioned earlier this week that a new era was about to begin at Paris Saint-Germain but we had no idea that change would come so quickly.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has made the decision to replace Laurent Blanc with Sevilla FC manager Unai Emery. While no official announcement has been made yet, the deal appears to be done and the 44-year-old Emery will earn €6 million over three years with an option to extend to a fourth.

As a casual fan of La Liga, I was unfamiliar with Emery other than the fact that he has won the UEFA Europa League three times with Sevilla. So, I reached out to Miguel Quintana, who penned this fantastic article on Emery for Ecos del Balón in 2015 (in Spanish), to get his insight on Emery and what PSG supporters can expect next season.

PSG Talk: What is Emery’s preferred style of play?

Quintana: Emery is a very interesting coach. He starts every season with the intent to keep the ball, to create things from possession, but it never works out. For that reason, in January or February, he activates his greatest plan: he instructs his team to retreat and look to counterattack.

PSG Talk: How do you think Emery will affect PSG? Can he deliver a UEFA Champions League trophy?

Quintana: Up to now, Emery doesn’t seem like a coach that fits too well with PSG’s project. It’s a big leap for him in his career and, certainly at Sevilla, his work was outstanding. But he’s a manager with a style and an identity very different to that of Carlo Ancelotti or Blanc.

PSG Talk: Does Emery get along with the players he manages?

Quintana: He’s a manager who helps improve any player with very defined qualities: like Edinson Cavani, Blaise Matuidi or Lucas Moura, for example. These three footballers could improve their game under Emery. At Sevilla, he had a problem with Iago Aspas and Gerard Deulofeu, but he resolved them well. He’s a thinker, both at news conferences and in the locker room, even though on the pitch he seems nervous and impulsive.

PSG Talk: Monchi, who is Sevilla’s director of football, is also rumored to be heading to PSG. What can you tell me about him?

Quintana: Monchi has been Sevilla’s sporting director for many years and has a great reputation. He buys unknown players at low prices that end up being quite good. One example is Dani Alves. Recently he has done something similar with Aleix Vidal and Vitolo, who were both in the second division of Spanish football. His staff is very good, his relationship with Emery is perfect, and his reputation in Spain is incredible.

PSG Talk: What do you think Emery will do better than Blanc?

Quintana: It’s a complicated question because they are very different managers. An Emery team is not going to always play the same nor will it always have the ball, but it knows how to navigate the rhythms of a match, especially in big European ties. Maybe that is something that PSG has lacked in these last few seasons.

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Photograph by David Ramos/Getty Images

Tags Laurent Blanc Nasser Al-Khelaifi Sevilla FC Unai Emery