Per Mertesacker is to take the reins at Arsenal’s academy from next season.
The German central defender will continue as part of Arsene Wenger’s squad during the upcoming campaign but plans to increase his knowledge and understanding of his future role in concurrence with playing before retirement.
Arsene 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.’
Per Mertesacker said: “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.”
The defender, Arsenal said, will “continue as an important part of our squad while developing his knowledge and understanding” of the academy.
In 2017-18, the academy will be led by Luke Hobbs, who has held the job since the departure of Andries Jonker to manage Wolfsburg.