Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker to retire next year and become club’s academy manager

Arsenal have announced that club captain Per Mertesacker will retire at the end of next season to become the new academy manager at the Emirates.

Per Mertesacker with the FA Cup
Per Mertesacker with the FA Cup

The 32-year-old has been hampered with injuries in recent years, while knee problems ruled him out for most of last season, where his one and only Premier League appearance came in the final-day victory over Everton.

The centre-back, who has maintained his position as club captain throughout the struggles, will hang up his boots once the season is over and go on to work with the academy – and it's a role the German is eager to get stuck into.

“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,” Mertesacker told the club’s website.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger sang Mertesacker’s praises, saying the defender is a “deep thinker” and would be a great inspiration in the role.

“Per is an exceptional character who is a great example for young players,” Wenger said.

Luke Hobbs, who took on the job after Andries Jonker left to join Wolfsburg earlier this year, will continue in the role until Mertesacker takes over.