Changes to the Academy required as Wolfsburg appoint new Coach and Assistants

by Andrew Crawshaw

Yesterday morning 27/2/17 Arsenal FC announced that their Academy Manager – Andries Jonker was leaving with immediate effect to take over as manager at Bundesliga club VFL Wolfsburg.

It has also been reported that Freddie Lungberg who has been managing our U15 team this year and assisting with the U19s in their European games has also left to take up a new role with Andries.

These two will leave us with a couple of problems, one immediate the second slightly longer term.  The immediate one will be to appoint a new coach to the U15s and I strongly suspect that this will be filled by one of our existing coaching staff.  The longer term one will be to appoint a new head of our academy and that is rather more intriguing as it will quite possibly be interlinked with the position with Arsene Wenger come summer.

Andries joined us from Wolfsburg (where he was working as one of their assistant coaches) in the summer of 2014 and has overseen the major developments that have taken place in the Academy in the past three years.

In the short term I would expect Steve Gatting to step up to Head of Academy with Carl Laraman in turn stepping up from Assistant at U23 level to take over from Steve.  In the longer term, I wonder if this is a position that Arsène might be interested in, after 20 years at the club I really can’t imagine him joining another club for a few years and we all know how he loves to identify and bring on young players.  He also has a great interest in the workings of the Academy and was with the coaches at the televised U23 game last Friday.

To take over from Freddie Lungberg, I wonder if Kelly Smith might do it in for the next couple of months – probably not but it would be an interesting move.  It might also be a post that would interest any of our other retired players (male or female) who is looking to gain management experience.

Last Season VFL Wolfsburg finished 8th in the Bundesliga.  This year has not been good for them as after 22 games they lie 14th place, dangerously close to the relegation zone and massively under-performing compared with their expected position squad value.  Only Monchengladbach (£137m), Shalke (£179m), Bayer Leverkusen(£232m) and Bayern (£473m) have higher squad values and all those in the relegation scrap around them have values less than 50% of their £134m.

Pos Team Squad Value £m P W D L +/- Pts
1 Bayern Munich 473 22 18 5 1 41 53
2 RB Leipzig 94 22 15 3 4 19 48
3 Borussia Dortmund 322 22 11 7 4 23 40
11 Borussia M’gladbach 137 22 8 5 9 -4 20
12 FSV Mainz 05 66 22 8 4 10 -6 28
13 FC Augsberg 53 22 7 6 9 -7 27
14 VFL Wolfsburg 134 22 6 4 12 -13 22
15 Werder Bremen 58 22 6 4 12 -15 22
16 Hamburger SV 65 22 5 5 12 -24 20
17 FC Ingolstadt 04 30 22 5 3 14 -15 18
18 SV Darmstadt 98 21 22 3 3 16 -28 12

Andries will be the third manager of VFL Wolfsburg this season.  Dieter Hecking was in charge until 17 October when he was replaced by Valerin Ismaël.  With 12 games to go they are clearly hoping that this managerial change will be able to get underperforming players firing on all cylinders again.

Arsenal have wished Andries all the best for the future, I have a feeling that he may well need all the luck he can take with him.

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13 Replies to “Changes to the Academy required as Wolfsburg appoint new Coach and Assistants”

  1. Arsene as Academy Head?
    That seems a really interesting sideways step for him. The young players would be absolutely thrilled, and he wouldn’t lose any face in leaving his current role. Just think of what he could achieve.
    I like it!
    Thanks Andrew, I’m sure you can use your influence to arrange this.

  2. Luke Hobbs has been named as interim Academy Manager and Jan Van Loom as U15 manager according to an announcement on the .com this morning. Shows how much I know about things!

  3. Jan Van Loon was part of Jonkers coaching staff wasnt he?

    All the best to the departing members and to the new members too….

  4. Off topic:

    Rambo is back training.

    Also, did i say this before?? No one ever sported a red hair better than Freddie…EVER

  5. I can’t see Arsene going for that, really, but it could be a good “move” for all concerned.

    Suggested elsewhere this morning that it’s a possible opportunity to bring back some ex players, with coaching and/or administrative credentials.

    A new manager is going to need a Director of Football, and perhaps we move to get on of those in asap – regardless of whether Wenger goes or stays. Somebody with an inside knowledge would be a great advantage I’d say.

    Edu and especially, Overmars fill the bill!

  6. Arsene maybe moving to RM for one last shot at the CL. I hope he gets his dream or it will be an anti-climax. A Chinese post would be easier and even more money. He would also hope to take Alexis and Mesut with him. Good luck to Freddie who I saw many times and always remember watching him in Cardiff against Chelsea, The Freddie and Ray show. Great times!

  7. I have also been expecting a director of football to be appointed – Dennis Bergkamp would seem to me to fit the bill.

    As for Arsène’s next move, I really haven’t got any idea. I think it will be a move to give him an interesting “project” to get him out of bed in the morning, rather than the one that pays the highest wages. He has invested 20 years of his life into Arsenal and, providing that he doesn’t suffer any calamitous health problems will be quite capable of doing a high level job for at least another 10. Will he be willing/able to walk away from Arsenal FC? I just have a feeling that moving to head up the academy might just give him the ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ that I suspect that he will want.

    Add in the responsibility for building a 6,000 seat Academy/Ladies Stadium and who knows. The club maintain access to his knowledge and expertise, the Academy will certainly be in safe hands. It is a conversation which, were I on the Arsenal Board(and thank the Lord I’m not), I would want to have.

  8. “Reports”, if one is able to believe any of them, say Allegri has told his friends he is moving to Arsenal. But I doubt any manager would want AW’s heavy shadow over him as director or…
    It will have to be a clean cut.

  9. @Ossasa

    “Arsene maybe moving to RM for one last shot at the CL. I hope he gets his dream or it will be an anti-climax”

    Are you saying that Wenger winning the CL at whatever club is more important to you than Arsenal winning it?

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