Wolfsburg have confirmed that they have signed Arsenal’s head of youth development, Andries Jonker, as their new manager.
A statement on the website of the Bundesliga said:
Andries Jonker returns to the VfL Wolfsburg and takes the position of the chief trainer from the Grün-Weißen. The 54-year-old, who already worked for the Wolves from 2012 to 2014 as an assistant and tactician, comes from the English top club FC Arsenal.
Since 2014, he has been the director of the “Gunners” Academy. Andries Jonker, who signed a contract until 2018, will be presented to the public on Monday at 2 pm and then lead the training.
Sporting director, Olaf Rebbe: “Andries Jonker knows the VfL Wolfsburg and kept his regular contact with the club even after his change to London. Both factors were decisive for the fact that we were able to realise this top solution in such a short time.
“He is an internationally experienced coach and a proven tactician who has the best conditions to quickly and sustainably bring VfL back into the track.”
There are 12 games left for him to take charge of this season but he has been given an 18-month deal so his fate would not seem tied to the immediate future of the club in the Bundesliga.
They are currently 14th, with 22 points from 22 games, just two points outside the relegation zone with play-off place seemingly going to go to them, Werder Bremen or Hamburger.
As for Arsenal, will they replace now or wait for the summer? From within or without? More questions…
Arsenal have also confirmed the move which is most unlike them I wasn’t expecting to hear from them for at least another week on the matter.
van Gazidis said: “This is a great opportunity for Andries and we wish him every future success. Under Andries’ guidance, we have made huge progress in our academy operations.
“Arsenal is known around the world for its development of young players and we are confident we will find the right person to continue to lead our progress.”
Jonker added: “I have had a wonderful three years at Arsenal. We have made significant progress and it has been great to be part of a club which puts such an emphasis on developing young players through its academy.
“I leave a great team of people who will continue to do a terrific job and I would like to thank everyone, including the board, chief executive Ivan Gazidis and Arsène Wenger for all the support.
“There are some top young players in the Arsenal academy. I look forward to seeing them progress their careers.”