Aston Villa managed to lure Unai Emery to the club by handing him a blank sheet of paper and telling him to shape the club how he wished.

That’s according to director of operations Damià Vidagany, who has revealed all on the control that Aston Villa have handed the Spanish coach.

The Villans are currently flying under Emery’s leadership, with a 1-0 win over Manchester City this week, Emery’s first ever win over Pep Guardiola, taking them up to third in the Premier League.

They are currently only two points behind Liverpool in second and four points behind leaders Arsenal, meaning they are very much in the title race at this moment in time.

It’s been a remarkable turnaround under Emery since he was hired in October 2022, having arrived at Villa Park to replace Steven Gerrard with the club sitting 14th in the table.

Since then, they’ve not looked back, qualifying for the Europa Conference League and continuing to fly this season. Emery has very much been the mastermind of that success and Vidagany has revealed the club have told him to do as he pleases.

“The truth is that when we arrived, they made it clear the project revolved around Unai. They gave Unai a blank sheet of paper to build the club that he had in mind,” he said to Onda Cero.

“That is why Unai leaves Villarreal, where he was very comfortable and was also a reference. He also had an extraordinary relationship with the Roch family.

“He didn’t arrived to save Aston Villa from relegation, which was the situation at the time, but because they give him the possibility of building a club, building the team practically from scratch in an attempt to return the team to Europe within a period of two or three years, we achieved it in seven months.

“And now, after the summer, with teamwork and the arrival of Monchi, another leap in quality, we have also managed to form a team that is 12th in investment but are now third in the table. Everything is going well.”

One of the key reasons for Villa’s success this season has been the work they did in the summer transfer market, which proved to be a big one for them with the arrival of Monchi as director of football.

He oversaw a busy summer that saw the club spend €93m on signings such as Pau Torres and Moussa Diaby.

Both of those have proven to be key additions to the squad, with the Spanish defender in particular standing out in the win over Manchester City.

They were secured for big fees, to say the least, with Diaby the club’s record signing and Torres coming in fourth, but Vidagany insists they were considered ‘efficient’ deals, which has so far been proven on the pitch.

“We have to keep in mind that there are seven clubs with much more budget than Aston Villa, and some of them with states behind them,” he added.

“We are a club that has resources but, as I said before, we have been the number 11 or 12 in summer investments. We are a club that has to be very effective in its recruitment policy and for that, among other things, the club has opted to appoint Monchi.”