Unai Emery. EFE
All aboard the Yellow Submarine

All aboard the Yellow Submarine


Don't bet against Unai Emery taking the modest Villarreal team all the way to Champions League glory

Thursday, 14 April 2022, 16:15


Surely there's nobody with a semblance of interest in football who doesn't know the population of Villarreal now?

The team from the town of 50,000 inhabitants added the latest global scalp to the collection of heads hunted in their famous European adventures.

Bayern Munich suffered the same fate in the Champions League as Manchester United in the Europa League final last season. It should no longer be a shock, but there is still that element of surprise when a side of expensive internationals is beaten by a team of rejects.

It's an incredible story of a club that didn't play top flight football until 1998, based in a town with no four-star hotel. Any footballer who signs is heading there for the right reasons.

It's currently a retreat for those who have been scarred by life at Tottenham Hotspur. That club never reaped any dividend on the millions they spent on Foyth, Capoue, Aurier or Lo Celso. They all escaped to the Spanish countryside and rediscovered what had interested Spurs in the first place.

Villarreal's biggest asset is former Premier League player Danjuma. The 25-year-old is now on the radar of many leading clubs and Villarreal will double their €25 million investment.

He links up with Spain's Moreno. There's no doubt he could also demand greater wages elsewhere, but chose to return to the club that nurtured him after.

It was the same draw for manager Unai Emery. He'd experienced life in the fast lane at PSG and Arsenal, winning the French League and taking the Gunners to the Europa League final. He could have become incredibly wealthy by accepting an invitation to manage Newcastle United when the Arab owners took over, but I expect he thought about it during a stress-free day and thought all that it wasn't worth it. He's now very close to adding to his four Europa League. Don't bet against it.

They were known as the Yellow Submarine as they bobbed up and down the divisions. Now it's because they sneak up on you and torpedo you out of the water.

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