Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker is set to become Arsenal’s new academy manager next year, the club has confirmed.
The 32-year-old German defender will continue his role in Arsenal’s first-team squad this season before picking up the role in 2018.
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.
Arsene Wenger said Mertesacker, who has been at the club since 2011, will be an ‘inspirational’ figure for emerging talent at the Emirates.
‘Per is an exceptional character who is a great example for young players,’ Wenger told the Arsenal official website.
‘He is a deep thinker about the game and committed to helping players fulfill their potential.
— Per Mertesacker (@mertesacker) July 7, 2017
‘He will be an inspirational figure for everyone connected with the academy.’
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.’