Date: 7th July 2017 at 1:28pm
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Arsenal have announced today that centre half and skipper Per Mertesacker will retire at the end of the 2017/18 campaign and take up the role of Academy manager.

Mertesacker will spend the next year on first team duties whilst learning more about the Academy system and the job before making the permanent switch next summer.

Speaking to the Official Site as the news was announced, Arsene Wenger explained.

‘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.’

Mertesacker himself admitted it was an exciting new chapter for him and a job he was looking forward to moving 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. 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 Academy for the coming campaign will continue to be led by Luke Hobbs who has held the role following the departure of Andries Jonker to Wolfsburg last spring.

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis added.

‘At Arsenal, we believe in developing young players to their full potential and giving them an opportunity to shine. I am delighted that Per will take on this role. He understands the club’s values, he knows what it takes to win at the top level and he will be the ideal person to drive the academy forward when he takes on the role next year.’

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