Per to become academy manager

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Per Mertesacker to lead Arsenal academy

Per Mertesacker

We are delighted to announce that club captain Per Mertesacker will become our academy manager in a year’s time.

For the coming season, he will continue as an important part of our squad while developing his knowledge and understanding of the Academy.

Manager Arsène Wenger said: “Per is an exceptional character who is a great example for young players. He is a deep thinker about the game and committed to helping players fulfil their potential. He will be an inspirational figure for everyone connected with the academy.”

Per said: “This is the start of an exciting new chapter for me and I am delighted that I will be able to stay part of the Arsenal family. This season I will remain fully focused on my job with the team and am looking forward to a successful last season on the pitch. After that, I look forward to the exciting challenge of helping produce young players good enough to play for the Arsenal first team.”

During the coming season the academy will be led by Luke Hobbs, who has done an outstanding job since the departure of Andries Jonker to manage Wolfsburg last spring.

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: "At Arsenal, we believe in developing young players to their full potential and giving them an opportunity to shine. I am delighted that Per will take on this role. He understands the club's values, he knows what it takes to win at the top level and he will be the ideal person to drive the academy forward when he takes on the role next year.”


‘This shows that the club believes in me’

Per Mertesacker’s appointment as our new academy manager from 2018/19 onwards may have caught some by surprise - but the man himself is bursting with pride.

Our club captain was facing the media in Sydney ahead of our tour games in Australia, and he discussed his new role and what it will be like to retire as a player at the end of the season.

This is what he said:

on how he feels about the appointment…
A lot of pride. It shows that the club believes in me, not only as a player. There are a lot of young players coming up and that’s why I’m very happy and very privileged to take over from next season. I’ve decided to stop playing, that was my first decision. I realised I had to stop after a very good and long career, and now I’m in the pre-season preparing for my last season [so I have to] to enjoy it as much as I can. Then we can speak about next season when I’ve finished this season. Then I have a new role without any background from being part of that side of the club. I’m very excited, obviously about this season to finish my career well, and then starting off an absolutely new role.

on whether he always wanted to be a coach…
I enjoy being vocal to young players during training, but I’ve never seen myself as a coach. I think to gain experience in that will be key as well, for my next chapter. But once Arsenal had the idea to implement me in the club, I slowly started to realise and think about what my purpose would be after playing. 

on deciding to retire at end of this season…
First of all, that decision of whether I want to stop or not was difficult at the time. I have been fortunate enough to play more than 15 years in professional football and to make my own decision on when to stop is something I always wanted to do. When Arsenal came to me with the idea, I was up for it. To stop at the highest level is good for me and that’s why I decided to stop next year - even if I could have gone somewhere else, for example Germany, and played a couple more seasons. I am looking forward absolutely to this new role, to staying in football - those were the kind of things that convinced me, plus my family are happy in England, in London as well. What comes with that role, we will define that in this next year. Playing is the major part, but then we decide what experience I have to gain to set up myself into that role - if that is more on the coaching side, or the managing side, that is down to the season ahead.