Reading manager Jaap Stam wouldn’t be surprised if academy manager Lee Herron joined Arsenal.

Arsenal are reportedly set to appoint Herron to a new football operations role in their academy.

He’s expected to work alongside new academy director Per Mertesacker next season and assist with the scheduling of youth fixtures.

Speaking about the report, Reading manager Jaap Stam acknowledges how difficult it is to keep players and staff when top clubs are interested.

“They keep me in the loop,” Stam said, as reported by the Reading Chronicle.

“I’ve heard and I’ve read certain things about him maybe joining Arsenal.

“He’s been here for a while and he’s a man who knows what to do with youngsters. It’s always difficult if someone with his abilities leaves because then you need to get someone else in and you’re never sure how that’s going to work.

“It’s how it goes, if you’re working with a smaller club and a top club comes in and wants you to work for them then the temptation is there.

“It’s difficult to keep certain young players or the people working with those players.”

Herron played a pivotal role in ensuring Reading’s academy were granted Category 1 status as part of the FA’s Elite Player Performance Plan.

It appears his experience and expertise will be used to ease Mertesacker into his new role.

Herron has experience with all age groups and has led youth sides on international tours of the United States.

He’s also had in hand in the development of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Hal Robson-Kanu and Shane Long, who all currently ply their trade in the Premier League.

The Arsenal academy is currently being looked after by Luke Hobbs while Mertesacker prepares for the role.

The German will take up his new role after he retires from playing at the end of the season.

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News and feature writer with a BA in Creative and Professional Writing from the University of East London. Long-time Arsenal fan also following Sevilla and local side Southend United. You can find me on Twitter @jeinchy29 talking about Arsenal and the issues affecting the English game,