EXCLUSIVE: Unai Emery offers respected former Liverpool assistant Pako Ayestaran the chance to be his Aston Villa No 2 in a move considered both important and shrewd
- Unai Emery has made his first major decision since being named Aston Villa boss
- Emery has offered the respected Pako Ayestaran the chance to be his assistant
- Experienced coach Ayestaran was No 2 to Spaniard Rafael Benitez at Liverpool
- He also worked under Gary Neville at Valencia before taking over at the club
Unai Emery has made his first major decision since being named Aston Villa manager by offering Pako Ayestaran the opportunity to become his assistant.
Emery is determined to make the most of this significant step in his career and the desire to have the respected Ayestaran by his side is both important and shrewd.
Ayestaran has a wealth of experience and first arrived in the Premier League in 2004, where he assisted Rafa Benitez at Liverpool.
Unai Emery has offered Pako Ayestaran the chance to become his assistant at Aston Villa
Ayestaran (second right) was No 2 to Spaniard Rafael Benitez at Liverpool from 2004-2007
He also worked under Gary Neville at Valencia before succeeding the Brit (above)
He had a strong bond with the players, was instrumental in improving fitness standards and during his three years at Anfield, the club won four trophies.
The pair worked together at Valencia, helping the club finish third in LaLiga before Ayestaran departed in 2010. Ayestaran left because he wished to become a manager in his own right.
The 59-year-old returned to Valencia in 2016, initially as Gary Neville’s assistant and then as permanent boss when the former Manchester United defender was sacked.
Ayestaran was then dismissed in September 2016 after a run of poor results.
Emery’s first game in charge is likely to be against Manchester United next weekend, as his work permit will not have been approved before the match at Newcastle on Saturday.
But the former Arsenal manager has already been in contact with Villa’s analysis team and will study United in preparation for his first game with his new club.