According to a recent report in the Independent, Arsenal are looking at Barcelona coach, Pep Segura, as a possible option to become their new Head of Youth Development.
The 56-year-old, who was Liverpool’s technical manager for the Academy side between 2009 and 2012, joined the La Liga giants as Head of their Professional Phase.
As part of his current role, he oversees the production of players through their famous La Masia youth academy in addition to the work that is being done with both Barcelona B and Juvenil A.
Both sides are top of their respective leagues and Segura has been an influential figure in helping them develop over the past few seasons.
His work has not gone unnoticed and it’s unsurprising that he has attracted interest from other sides. Chelsea made an informal approach for his services after he returned to Spain but at the time were rejected.
If news of his availability arises once more, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them linked with the experienced coach once more especially during a time where more of the top teams are assessing ways to improve their Academy.
What would this mean for Andries Jonker?
Unsurprisingly, this news has consequently raised questions over Jonker’s immediate future at the club.
The highly-rated Dutchman, who joined in 2014, has helped the Academy to develop by sanctioning deals for promising teenagers such as Ismaël Bennacer, Donyell Malen and Jeff Reine-Adélaïde whilst stressing the need for patience as progression isn’t an overnight job. Changing the hierarchy could easily cause instability within the club.
Results haven’t been great this season. The u23s sit in 5th place within the Premier League 2 division whilst the u18s are eight points off league leaders Chelsea, albeit with a game in hand. A shock early exit in round three of this season’s FA Youth Cup definitely dented opportunities for silverware this season and consistency has been hard to come by, especially as the u19s fell short in the UEFA Youth League this term too.
Taking all of that into account, it’s inevitable that some changes will be made in the coming months. Whether Segura’s potential arrival signals the end for Jonker remains to be seen, but it’s unlikely either would be willing to work in tandem unless given specific assurances, especially as they could find similar roles elsewhere across Europe’s top sides.