Arsenal have confirmed that Per Mertesacker will be the club’s new Academy manager when his playing contract ends next June.
For the time being Luke Hobbs, who has held the position since Andries Jonker departed for Wolfsburg, will continue in the role.
The appointment of Mertesacker, coupled with the recruitment of Jens Lehmann as a first team coach, lends a distinctly German feel to life at London Colney. It’s very difficult not to feel excited about that, given both men know exactly what it means to be a Gunner.
Full of praise for Mertesacker, Arsene Wenger said of the appointment: “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.”
There were also a few words from Mertesacker about his upcoming new role: “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.”
He also took to social media to make clear he’s still focused on first team matters.
— Per Mertesacker (@mertesacker) July 7, 2017
It finally feels like Arsene is preparing the club for life after his departure. Obviously, he’s just signed a new two-year contract so it’s not happening overnight, but it’s most definitely a positive sign.