Arsenal continue hunt for academy boss
Written by Simon Austin — March 3, 2017
ARSENAL say the process of finding a replacement for Andries Jonker as academy manager is ‘ongoing’, with chief executive Ivan Gazidis playing a ‘central role’ in the process.
Dutchman Jonker, 54, became Wolfsburg's third manager of the season earlier this week, admitting the move had come as a ‘surprise’. It was certainly unforeseen by Arsenal.
Luke Hobbs has been placed in interim charge of the academy ‘for the foreseeable future’. The 37-year-old was described as ‘a safe pair of hands’ by Gazidis, and someone who will ‘continue the excellent progress we are making in this important part of the club’, but he is not regarded as a candidate for the job on a permanent basis.
Steve Morrow, Dennis Bergkamp, Pep Segura and Mark Warburton have all been linked with the role, although an Arsenal spokesman told TGG this was ‘mere speculation’.
“This is not a decision that is made overnight,” he added. “It’s a crucial important position that needs to be filled sooner rather than later, but we aren’t panicking.”
Hobbs, who holds the Uefa A licence, began his professional career as Peterborough’s community officer before becoming centre of excellence manager at Cambridge United and then head of coaching at Southend.
Jonker became Wolfsburg’s third manager of the season on Monday following the sacking of Valerien Ismail. It marked a return to the Bundesliga club for the Dutchman, who had been assistant manager there before joining Arsenal in 2014.
Jonker, who was Louis van Gaal's assistant at Bayern Munich, endured an uneasy relationship with manager Arsene Wenger towards the end of his tenure at the Emirates.
Last summer the academy chief offered Thierry Henry a coaching job with the Under-18s, only for Wenger to overrule his decision. Meanwhile, Jan van Loon has stepped up to coach the Under-15s after Freddie Ljungberg followed Jonker to Wolfsburg.