Monday, July 22, 2024

Mertesacker to head up Arsenal’s Academy next year

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.

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.

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wow just wow !!!!!i can’t believe the surge of energy i got reading this ?


Excellent news. I predict Per to make the Academy purr.


Per-fect choice and a potential future manager.


Per’s persona permanently persuading Arsenal personnel to perimeter perceptions of peril, perversity and perplexity with periods of perfectly perky, perspiring and persistent performances.


Methinks you mean preseverance rather than perversity. For example, as much I enjoy the manliness of Mrs. Pires and Giroud as anyone else, they do not strike me as the perverse type.


No, they are perimetering it (ie avoiding it). Perseverance they wouldn’t want to perimeter.

The Loon Ranger

Not to mention his PERspicacity. Oh I just did

Dublin Ed

That’s taking the pee ?


Too soon


Classy decision, Mr Wenger! the BFG is evidently admired by the current squad and after that Cup Final display a true Arsenal legend. So happy to be a Gunner.


That interview with him after the game was my favourite moment from last season. “pretty good, innit?”



Excellent appointment. Lets get Pires in as sporting director now!


Merte to do a Zidane in 5-10 years. Called it first.

STEVE Seetaram

Adam lacks perception/ Per has it all

Rwandan Gunner

That would be a classy gesture to a man that oozes class. BFG is already a legend.

Mein Bergkampf

Totally agree, great to keep him at the club. But he’s only 32! Isn’t it a bit premature to talk about his retirement? He’s a defender who has never relied on pace but uses positioning, intelligence and experience to compensate for his mobility issues. Surely he’s got five or six seasons in him, not necessarily at the top, top level, but not far off.


Or, he’s per-fectly happy (see what I did there?) with his career and wants to move on to a new challenge.

David C

I know what you mean, but when you’ve been through such a long injury then it can be really hard to think about the possibility of being injured again. I ripped ankle ligaments and am approaching 40 so I won’t play league/organized footie any more. Just pickup with no shin pads. At some point you just don’t want to risk going through it again. That’s why Santi is such a beast for PERsevering!

Arsene\'s handkerchief

This makes me happy. I love the BFG, great news!


Utterly delighted with the news. Our BFG is in possession of an exceptional personality. Never have I seen a man so big be so quiet and command so much respect in the way he does. We always harp on about bringing ex players into the fold, but they have to possess the right qualities. Mertesacker definitely does.


Agreed. It’s great to bring in ex-players but they have to offer more than just reputation…bit of a difference between Per and Adams for example.


Yes indeedy. Even some of Thierry’s utterings have seemed a bit weird at times.


Bit of a difference between Lehmann & Adams as well…

Chippys chip

This, that and the other.


I have a good feeling about this. He seems to be a great person, he’s a great leader and with an overview of the game that’s equal to few. We’ll hope that he can make the academy players flourish.

Capn Crunch

Very happy about this. We’ve lost a lot of club leaders to other teams after they retire so great to have the BFG stick around. He really encapsulates the kind of ethics, professionalism and class that we want instilled in the club’s youth.

Niall Shannon

Does this mean that this year will be his final year for being a player or could he still get another playing contract?


Last year as a player.

Great news. Someone of Per’s stature and class and discipline will be a great person to learn from for the youngsters.

On a side note Tony Adams must be losing his shit.

Alton jarman

Great news bet that moaning git adams is pissed off…good.


was just thinking about Tony Adams! Great player and captain, but glad he’s nowhere near the club in any kind of coaching capacity. He’s just a bit …. weird.


Tony could learn a thing or two from Per about how to conduct himself in public when he talks about the manager and this great club. Congrats Per!


Adams’s head is not for deep thinking. It’s a battering ram in service of his magic knob and the Arsenal.

Chippys chip

Will always get my respect for that. Caprice.. WOW!! Glendas mum…HOW?


I hope he gets some gametime this season, should be starting all Europa games.


to be honest i wont mind a back 3 made up of mertesacker koscielny and mustafi in epl


yes please. Height, pace, passing ability and good reading of the game all checked

Spanish Gooner

Yesssss, love this news


Absolutely fantastic news. He’s not only been the leader of the team in the last few years, but has also shown his intelligence countless times ober the last years.

uncle D

LacaNewSigning! Oooooh I couldn’t help it… Great news


Or you Mert a Perfect signing


Im surprised that Wenger would appoint him as head, withoug any full time coaching experience – but delighted about it!

Always thought Per would be great in coaching/managing and fantastic that he’s doing it with us!


Perhaps IG/AW think he is a natural? He has been unofficially coaching the young CBs, even while Calum Chambers was out on loan. And this in-between year will also be about him getting some experience with the youth set-up.

Brilliant appointment.


He spent much of last year on the sides injured using much of his time building players confidence and helping them settle at the club. Teaching them tricks of the trade. Hes clearly a well liked character and seems to breed what Arsenal is all about.

I remember reading he was the one that collects players fines, this has long been in the making by Wenger.

Fantastic news for our BFG!

Xhaka Demus, no pliers

Great news. Per earned himself legendary status in the Cup final and you can tell he’s the type of person who wants to help bring the best out of others.


Fantastic news. For me, it makes such a difference having a connection to the people behind the scenes. Obviously I don’t know Per on a personal level but I feel a connection with him as a player for our club. With all due respect to Mr jonkers I didn’t know anything about him and didn’t really care to be brutally honest. He was a guy doing a job, nothing more. All for ‘promoting’ from within. Good luck sir.


Lovely news. Not many current or previous players I would like to keep at the club more than the BFG! A model professional if there ever was one. And a true gunner legend!


Bee Effff Geee. We’ve got a Beee Efff Geee and it will stay ours 🙂


I didn’t realise that he’s only 32… Does that strike anyone else as being really young to be hanging his boots up soon? Delighted that he’s staying at the club and really happy to see so many ex players joining the backroom staff… But his game isn’t exactly reliant on pace? And he was sooo good in that final?! Not saying he should be starting every game for us, but if I was the manager of a semi-decent EPL/Bundesliga club that didn’t play a high line, I’d have watched that FA cup final and thought ‘lets offer him a 2-3… Read more »


Perhaps they did, wages and a love for the club plus this job offer is kinda hard to turn down.


I do think being so tall takes its toll on the body in the physical sports. No wonder he wants a break and to keep him at the club is fantastic.


Maybe he wants to go out on a high, not as a shadow of his past self like many others tend to do?

A different George

Going out on a high sounds right to me: his last moment on the pitch for Germany was the whistle of the World Cup final.


Maybe the offers have been there and he isn’t interested. Some will carry on a few years in Mickey Mouse leagues for mega money to cream the last coins out of a career that’s in reality over and there’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe our BFG prefers a clean break and going straight into a meaningful job from there.


I have a feeling – a good one..


Great news. Looks like something we all can agree on for once 😛


This is an interesting appointment, and I’m happy for Mertesacker.

However, it is just wishful thinking to feel that this is a sign that Arsene is finally preparing the club for life after his departure.

I don’t think his eventual departure – whenever that may be, which is not necessarily in two years time – had anything to do with it.


I think so too and don’t see any real connection between the two.


You cannot consider this in isolation. New goalkeeping coach, Mad Jens back as a first team coach, and now this.

Add the new fitness coach and its a pretty serious changing of the guard


Fantastic, perfect guy for the job. When he takes over as manager in 2026 after having successfully been in and around the club for 15 years, we’ll all dig up the FA Cup final against Chelsea and get teary eyed.

In fact, I’m getting teary eyed already. I think I need to watch some BFG clips from the final.

Bottom line: These are the people we really need to keep at the club. Proper Gunners and Gooners, through and through.


I’m teary eyed now thinking that this is his last season.

Like Chambo said. He’s a god around here.

It Is What It Is

I’m gonna break my rule, and get PER on this seasons’ jersey.

If Arsene spends big, I’ll go the whole 11 yards myself, and get MERTESACKER instead.

Absolute legend and charismatic leader, who leads by example. The man puts it in for the Arsenal, 100%.

I hope the club are in the process of sourcing a monolith for his statue.


Ooh, I haven’t bought a named shirt for years. Maybe I should buy one in the honor of the BFG. Sounds like a good idea to me!

A different George

When I watched the final again, I was surprised at how much better Mertesacker seemed than when I watched it as it happened–and I thought he was terrific the first time. On a calmer second or third viewing, Holding’s positioning is often questionable, and it is Per who is always able to clear the problem (except the once, when Costa scores). Please, don’t get me wrong–I love how Holding played, his effort and spirit–but he is a very inexperienced centre-half, and I don’t think we would have won the cup without the BFG next to him. Insofar as you can… Read more »


everyone at the club looks up to him


What a transformative week for the club! 😀


I’ve been wondering for a while if Per is being groomed as a possible replacement by Arsene. He’s smart, knows the game and seems relatively happy with his lack of game time despite still being a class player. I just have a feeling this isn’t a bolt from the blue and conversations have been going on for a while.


Who knows? Mad Jens as manager and BFG as assistant manager in the future. Pires as sporting director and Arteta taking up the primorac role.
That way we’d be able to attract players from France, Germany and Spain.


My preference would be for Paddy as Manager, but apart from that it also fits my footbal-as-tropical-island fantasy


I think there is a slightly different emphasis from the club. While Per is clearly a leadership type of person, as head of the academy his role is to instill a set of values, a sense of what it means to play for Arsenal. To show desire, grit, determination in the red and white shirt, but also groundedness and professionalism. To successfully convey this to a bunch of super talented teenagers is a very rare skill set, which sugggests that it is a medium to long term appointment, rather than preparation for the hot seat.

Bai Blagoi

We couldn’t find better person for the role than Per!


I have to admit I was secretly hoping for Dennis…but I’m certainly not disappointed by the BFG.

Fantastic that he’s staying with us and hopefiully he’ll help with the eventual transition post-Arsene. Fair play to the club on this one.

Coupled with two great early signings and the addition of Jens – are we finally seeing real change??


he certainly will be a very good fit for this job. just look at what chambers said about mertesacker. nothing but absolute respect. Stoked with this announcement!!


Awesome news. A decent summer for us so far.


Per is my Mr Arsenal.. Lost all respect for Tonne mouth Adam..


Absolutely love this! Go on Per!


Respect! I remember him saying when he came (at that awful time) that he’d had an Arsenal shirt since he was about 14 and he couldn’t say no to the call when it came. Endeared me to him straight away. Wonderful news that he’s still going to be around the place. Such an example as a player, as a captain and as a man.
No doubt at all that they are putting a strong team in place and who amongst us would not want to see Per as manager eventually.


He’d said it years earlier in an interview!

SE Gooner

That wry smile..


If he wasn’t a club legend before this, I hope he will be considered one now


This piece of news put a smile on my face and is the Per-fect end to an awful week. Fantastic appointment! 😀

Gudang Bedil

I am so happy for this!


He spent much of last year on the sides injured using much of his time building players confidence and helping them settle at the club. Teaching them tricks of the trade. Hes clearly a well liked character and seems to breed what Arsenal is all about.

I remember reading he was the one that collects players fines, this has long been in the making by Wenger.

Fantastic news for our BFG!


Top top top decision. Really happy about this, the club is starting to make a few moves which really do feel like genuine change!!


Why do I feel so much excitement about this new appointment? I like the way Arsenal is going about things now. It’s definitely part of preparation for life after Wenger. Getting in people who breath Arsenal and her way.


Probably completely irrational, but I got more of a buzz out of this news than I did out of the Jens or Lacazette news (positive as they both were). Well done Arsenal – this is exactly the type of thing people are calling for from the club.

Original Paul

I don’t think there is an Arsenal fan on the planet that is not delighted with this news! Excellent!!

Yorkshire Gunner

I remember after the cup final him frantically encouraging all the backbroom staff to join the celebrations in front of the fireworks and literally dragging one or two of them in. A special guy.


Overjoyed with this! Looks like we’re going to have a Big Fucking German for a bit longer!


Good news, Per is a good schatz.


Great news. A true Gooner and Gentleman. Waiting for Le Grove to put the negative spin on this one.


Great announcement about Per, but a bit sad that so many have turned on Big Tone. I know he’s said some madcap things and probably isn’t right for a role at the club but as they say love is blind and I think Adams loves the club soooooo much he can’t see the wood for the trees sometimes. But lets not forget that he played his heart out for Arsenal, stayed when Fergie wanted him and, in my opinion, has been the best club captain of any team since God knows when.

An Ox-sized Coq

Fantastic appointment!

Now let’s tie down our Santi to a 10-year contract to walk the halls nutmeg people, poke them and giggle…pretty much just put a smile on everyone’s faces.


That would be worth every penny.
Director of keepy-uppy and morale.

Merlin\'s Panini

Great stuff. This summer is quite enjoyable so far despite the poor season it follows. I just hope we can build on this good feeling and take it into the season. We might just surprise a few people.


Great choice!!! Now how about offering roles to Pires, Santi & Rosicky. I’m sure the youth players would love to see these down to earth legends around the training ground…


Probably the reason why he has been kept two seasons more. A giant of a man for us and a natural leader. He has been one of those players less appreciated fro what he has done to stabilise the ship and add experience to the back line when we were losing top assets every season. Ditto Arteta, Flamini. Metersecker often criticised for speed but this always never fails to bemuse me because what is the point of pace without positioning? Why need pace when you are already there? 😉 Excellent news to see him involved in a coaching set up.… Read more »

Rohith J

Glad to see that I am not the only one excited about this. Now bring back Arteta! More class please.

Mr Eko

This makes me so so happy. I feel so good inside, I can’t even explain how I feel.

I’ve always thought Per and Arteta had the potential to become successful football managers. But I’m so happy Per is getting this huge role. I remember the interview Ox did a few weeks ago when he said “Per is the daddy of the team”.

What a guy!

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