Unai Emery has developed a reputation for isolating players or becoming embroiled in situations that don’t end particularly well.
His issues with Neymar at PSG saw the coach, not the player move on. He said at the time:
“Neymar came to PSG to be the leader, to live the necessary process to become No.1 in the world. It is a process which still needs a bit of time to be achieved. At Manchester City, the boss is Pep (Guardiola). At PSG, the boss has to be Neymar.”
French sports paper L’Equipe had written of an ‘abyss’ between Neymar and his coach, but upon the imminent departure of Emery from PSG, the pair spoke of mutual respect which didn’t exist.
At Arsenal, Unai has managed to freeze out Mesut Ozil until the German leaves, probably in January and currently, he appears to be closing the door on last year’s summer bargain, Lucas Torreira.
One can conclude that going toe-to-toe with the Spaniard or even having an off day at training could result in ‘una salida anticipada’ ( an early departure ) or ‘el final de una carrera’ ( the end of a career ).
Unai Emery isn’t big on the star player mentality and it appears to rub him up the wrong way to such an extent that a season can feel like a lifetime when it’s spent training without playing, languishing on the subs bench or sat in the sofa watching MOTD.
In his two seasons in Paris, PSG’s players had begun dictating to the coach and Unai found it almost impossible to regain control and how he thrives on control.
Mesut Ozil has hardly kicked a ball this season, with both Emery and Raul Sanllehi explaining that there were others more deserving of a start, but one can’t help thinking of Ozil’s contrite remark to Emery “you are not a coach” in the Europa league final, which it would seem, ended his Arsenal career after an entire season of conflict and ill feeling.
Quite frankly, we should have seen it coming because last year, former PSG player Lucas Moura, who played under the Spaniard at PSG revealed his own rift with the now Arsenal coach when he said:
“It was very hard—the worst seven months of my life.”
“I had come from a very good season, I was second top scorer of the team, only behind Cavani. The following season, I wasn’t even called up. I used to go to practice, I wasn’t even in the game. I used to go back home. It was very difficult.”
Mmmm sounds very familiar but in today’s world, surely Emery’s problems with Ozil could have found a better resolution.