Arsenal have confirmed that Freddie Ljungberg will become Unai Emery’s assistant first-team coach with Steve Bould vacating his current position to replace the Swede as head of the under-23s. The changes will come into place in two weeks time.
The idea behind the job swap appears to be rooted in a desire to create a smoother transition for Academy prospects to the first team; a clear sign that we’re intending to use more homegrown talents in the coming season due to a reduced transfer budget, even if the club dress it up as an ‘ongoing strategy’.
Both men seem pretty happy with the changes. For Ljungberg, it’s a return to working with top-level players – something he experienced during a short spell with Wolfsburg – while Bould gets a second bite at working with our youngsters having done so for 11 years prior to 2012.
Freddie told Arsenal.com: “I’m really excited by this opportunity to continue helping develop and work with some of the great young players we have coming through in the first-team environment and to work alongside Unai and his coaching team to help Arsenal win trophies. I’m looking forward to working in this new structure and to pass on my experience and knowledge about what is needed to succeed at this level.”
Bould added: “I have always had a deep commitment to developing young players and am delighted to be back working in an area which is so important to the future of our club. We have great young players and my job will be to help them maximise their potential.”
Arsenal also confirmed two other changes to the way we develop our young prospects. Goalkeeping coach Sal Bibbo will facilitate the transition of young keepers to the first team and loan manager Ben Knapper will ‘continue to identify and recommend third-party clubs to play their part in our players’ development and, ultimately, the move into senior football.’
Head of Football Raul Sanllehi seems positive about the tweak to the restructure which we understand has been driven by Ljungberg, Bould and Academy manager Per Mertesacker. The German has spoken expansively in the recent past about his desire to better manage our young stars to ensure they get the chances they deserve to prove their worth.
“Identifying, recruiting and developing young players is a key part of our strategy,” said Sanllehi.
“We have some great talent coming through our younger age groups and, like all top clubs, the challenge is to help them make the most of their abilities.”