The 40-year-old steered Valencia into third in La Liga this season and a Champions League place, yet he has had an uneasy relationship with the club’s fans and President Manuel Llorente over the past 12 months and has decided to take up the Russians’ offer.
“It is time to leave Spain,” said Emery, who was also sought after by clubs in Turkey, Greece and Portugal. “I am going to a place where football has progressed a lot in the last few years and I don’t mind the cold. I’ll get used to it,” he added with a smile, before pointing out that fellow Spaniard Juande Ramos had already spent time in Moscow with CSKA in 2010, albeit just 47 days.
Emery has already met Spartak’s general and football directors, Dmitri Popov and Leonid Fedun respectively, with whom he was in contact on Monday. Details of his contract are still to be ironed out, but it is understood to be for two seasons at €2.5m-a-year, believed to be double what he earned at Valencia.
Basque-born Emery has a good relationship with outgoing Spartak boss Valery Karpin, after the pair met whilst players with Real Sociedad in the early 1990’s, and also knows Popov after his stints in Spain with Racing Santander, Compostela and Toledo.
Having qualified for the Champions League with Valencia this season, Emery will find out if he will be involved in Europe’s premier competition next season or in the Europa League after Spartak’s final game of the season at Lokomotiv Moscow on May 13.