It’s finally official.
After the story broke a couple of weeks ago, Arsenal have officially announced the coaching switch up that involves former Gunners Steve Bould and Freddie Ljungberg switching places in a move that gives our coaching setup far more focus on the progression of our youth players.
Former Under-23 boss Freddie Ljungberg has moved to the role of Assistant Coach, and will be on the bench with Unai Emery next season. The Swede oversaw a successful campaign in his former role, seeing his kids to a runners up spot, finishing behind Everton.
His promotion is designed to give Emery more sight in regards to the jump that the youngsters have to make between the youth side and the first team. The club’s official statement said “As part of our ongoing strategy t develop our young players, and to efficiently bring them through to the first team, we are making some coaching changes.”
“Our goal is to create a transition team, which will collectively manage a player’s development through some of the hardes and most challenging periods of their professional lives. The aim is to create a clear framework for our young players to fulfil their potential at the highest level.”
Ljungberg’s insight will prove useful in gauging where the youth players currently stand, and if they’re good enough to be in with the first team. Players like Emile Smith-Rowe, Eddie Nketiah, Zach Medley, Krystian Bielik, Reiss Nelson, Tyreece John-Jules and others who impressed last season will benefit as Ljungberg has the clearest indication on if they are ready for the jump to the big leagues.
Steve Bould will take Ljungberg’s place with the Under-23’s, working alongside Per Mertesacker to push the kids toward first team readiness. Goalkeeping coach Sal Bibbo will also be given more scope, working with our youth goalkeepers.
This shake-up is aligned with our transfer approach this season, with our budget a little below what it needs to be to make a real impact on the first team, it will be up to our youth to comprise the real changes we need to see.
It is unclear if the kids that make the step up will be the salve that soothes the burn of last season, but they certainly deserve their chance. And with Ljungberg on the bench, that means they’ll get their minutes.