Arsenal Captain Per Mertesacker Retiring In 2018 To Serve As Academy Manager
Arsenal’s academy will have a new manager in a year: team captain Per Mertesacker.
Per Mertesacker Retiring in 2018
The 32-year-old German defender announced he will retire after the 2017-2018 season in order to lead the club’s academy. Mertesacker, who joined the Gunners from Werder Bremen in August 2011, only played two games last season due to injuries. He performed greatly in the FA Cup Final victory over Chelsea in late May despite that being his first start of the season.
“This is the start of an exciting new chapter for me and I am delighted I will be able to stay part of the Arsenal family,” said Mertesacker. “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.”
Looking forward to the new challenge in 2018 … but: it ain’t over ’til it’s over ✌🏻#COYG https://t.co/bCSHnsyz4D
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— Per Mertesacker (@mertesacker) July 7, 2017
Arsenal have stated that he will begin working with the academy this season in order to prepare for his new position.
“Per is an exceptional character who is a great example for young players,” manager Arsene Wenger said. “He is a deep thinker about the game and committed to helping players fulfill their potential.”
Mertesacker made more than 200 appearances under Wenger’s leadership.
This week, Arsenal signed Lyon’s 14-year veteran Alexandre Lacazette on a record deal, and many of the Gunners seem excited about the prospect of playing alongside the French forward. “I’m really looking forward to it,” said Mesut Ozil. “He is a very good striker who has scored many goals in Ligue 1, not just this season but in previous seasons too. We are really happy to have such a class striker here with us.”
Ozil continued: “I hope he will be able to take us further with his goals. I am sure he is happy to be here and to be able to play with us, and we are pleased to be able to assist him and help him to score as many goals as possible.”
LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 30: Per Mertesacker of Arsenal celebrates victory after the FA Cup Final between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on May 30, 2015 in London, England. Arsenal beat Aston Villa 4-0. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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