Unai Emery has confirmed that Newcastle United are interested in appointing him as their new manager.
Newcastle opened talks with the Emery’s representatives over the weekend and have made him their first choice to replace Steve Bruce.
Sources close to Newcastle have confirmed that they are confident that a deal can be done, but Emery himself insists an offer is yet to be made.
“Newcastle have shown an interest but I’ve been thinking about the game all day,” Emery told a press conference after Villarreal’s Champions League win over Young Boys on Tuesday.
“There’s no offer. The offer would have to be via the club. I am focused on Villarreal. No more than that.
“If there is an offer, I would speak with the president about it. I’m not closing or opening any doors.”
Emery’s quotes came after Villarreal president Fernando Roig insisted that he has not heard from Newcastle over his head coach.
Roig commented both before and after the game to the Spanish media, denying an official approach has been made.
“I have absolutely no idea [about any approach]. What I do know is that he has a contract with us and contracts are there to be fulfilled. I have no doubts about Unai’s professionalism,” Roig said on Movistar.
In a thinly veiled attack at the riches on offer in the Premier League, he added: “The important thing is that fans can’t be bought. They don’t go to Newcastle or Manchester United.
“Loads and loads of players and coaches have been and gone and you’re always prepared for what might come. We fans are always here. What matters is that the feeling for Villarreal remains.
“We picked Emery, as we pick all our coaches because we believed he would play good football. Winning the Europa League gave us greater visibility. And it put us in the Champions League.”
Despite Roig’s claims, it is understood that Newcastle’s new owners are confident that Emery is the right man for them and they have been told by his representatives that he is ready to move back to England after a maligned spell at Arsenal.
Newcastle are due to face Brighton this weekend with interim head coach Graeme Jones set to take charge.