Arsenal have confirmed that Shad Forsythe, the head of performance, will leave the club this summer after eight years of service.
Recruited by Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis, the American arrived with a wealth of experience and having been part of the backroom team that prepared Germany for their World Cup success in Brazil in 2014.
Armed with a Masters degree in biomechanics, he was tasked, along with the medical team and fitness coaches, with improving the Gunners’ injury record after a comprehensive review into the issues that all too often hampered Wenger’s squads.
“He would not be here if I was not impressed,” said Wenger not long after the appointment of Forsythe. “We are trying to be as good as we can everywhere.”
When Wenger appointed Darren Burgess to a similar position in 2017, Forsythe’s position at London Colney looked complicated. Ultimately, he outlasted both. Wenger left in 2018 and Burgess, who ruffled a lot of feathers, was sacked a year later as the cracks appeared in Unai Emery’s setup.
At that point, Forsythe was tantalisingly close to joining forces with Gazidis at AC Milan but was persuaded to stick around to fill the vacuum left by Burgess.
His expertise was vital during the height of the pandemic when several injured players had to be remotely marshalled through their rehab. He’s clearly a popular figure at the club – Martinelli made a beeline for the American after scoring yesterday’s opener against Everton – so his departure comes as something of a surprise. We can only assume he wants to do something new.
Forsythe isn’t the only member of staff departing; Paul Akers, who inherited the first team kit manager role from father Vic, will also be leaving after 21 years at the club.
Best of luck to both of them for the future.