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Arsenal have confirmed that captain Per Mertesacker will become the club’s Academy Manager as of 2018, retaining the German and his vast experience as an important part of the club when he retires from playing at the end of the coming season.
Mertesacker, 32, was expected to hang up his boots after lifting the FA Cup in May, only his second appearance of the 2016/17 campaign, but he will see out the final year of his contract before moving behind the scenes to guide the next generation at Arsenal.
“Per is an exceptional character who is a great example for young players,” Arsene Wenger said to Arsenal.com of the appointment.
“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 himself 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.”
Arsenal have explained that Mertesacker, a World Cup winner for Germany in 2014 and winner of five major honours at club over the course of his career, will spend some of his time over the next 12 months ‘developing his knowledge and understanding’ of the academy.
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