'Villa's owners and Emery clearly know when it feels right'

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You would like to think it took only a short conversation to get the deal done. News that Unai Emery had agreed a contract extension with Aston Villa was - not surprisingly - very warmly welcomed by fans and it is not hard to see the attractions for both parties.

Villa's astonishing progress since Emery's appointment only 18 months ago ensured his name was – and will no doubt continue to be - brought up in discussions as top-level managerial posts around Europe become vacant this summer.

There was no suggestion Villa seemed particularly worried about that, but extending his contract serves clear notice they would be ready to fight off any suitors should that situation arise.

Gossip suggesting Emery's name for other jobs also rested on the dubious assumption that the man himself might want to go. When vacancies open at clubs in the current European elite - Liverpool and Bayern Munich, for example - it is often taken as read that any coach working outside that group would immediately want to take that chance.

No doubt many do, but there is more to it than that.

The traditional idea of the manager, or head coach, as the most important figure at a football club is arguably still true, but that no longer ensures they are the most powerful - at least on the playing side. They might be the most visible, and the one most often called to account for results, but they are only one part of a complex structure and their influence has limits.

Perhaps that was Emery's experience at some of his previous places of employment, but at Villa there is no question that he is much more than just a figurehead.

His early success clearly validated the trust placed in him by the owners when they hired him and, rather than working within an established system, it is now clear Villa work to Emery's requirements.

Moving away from a made-to-measure set-up like that, at a club of Villa's heft and potential, would be a very difficult call. Would he really be granted similar authority somewhere else?

Elite-level football is a sharp-edged environment. Finding a combination of investment and talent that works so well so fast - especially to break into an established bracket of high-achieving clubs - is difficult and rarely achieved.

Clearly, both Villa's owners and Emery know when it feels right.

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