Arsenal have announced that defender Per Mertesacker will become the Gunners’ academy manager from next year.
The 32-year-old centre-back has been described as a “deep thinker” by Arsene Wenger and he will take over the running of the academy for the 2018/19 season with Luke Hobbs overseeing things until then.
On their website Arsenal said Hobbs had done an “outstanding job” since the departure of Andries Jonker to manage Wolfsburg last spring and added that Mertesacker would remain “an important part of our squad while developing his knowledge and understanding of the academy” this season.
Wenger told the club’s website: “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.”
Mertesacker, who signed for Arsenal from Werder Bremen in August 2011, added: “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.”