Former Invincible, caretaker of the club, and hopefully future manager with lots of success – Freddie Ljungberg has decided to leave Arsenal in search of a manager role elsewhere.
It always seemed to be the most likely outcome for the Swedish manager after getting a taste of the touchline between Emery leaving the club and Arteta’s appointment and voicing his desire to be a head coach or manager for a club this year.
The truth is, when Arteta came aboard he didn’t seem fully part of Arteta’s dream coaching build in the capacity he was looking for. While he was given a role on the staff and was spotted frequently in the stands taking diligent notes to supply his views at halftime, it was clear Arteta was looking to others for support, like Steve Round.
In a statement from the club, Freddie said:
“I have decided to leave my first-team assistant coaching role at Arsenal to progress my management experience. I have been involved with this club on and off since 1998 and am grateful for all the opportunities they have given me both as a player and as a coach.
“I wish Mikel and all the team every success for the season ahead. Thanks also to the fans for their constant support and for always being by my side. I hope we will all meet again soon.”
In his tenure with Arsenal football club as a player he will never be forgotten. After all, those that are invincible can hardly be forgotten. But as a manager, he is appreciated by many, maybe none more so than the youth players coming through the squad that he worked so well with. He offered guidance and a chance to succeed on the big stage, and players like Bukayo Saka are more than willing to acknowledge it gratefully.
“Freddie has given us all so much valuable advice and support” Bukayo said “He’s a fantastic coach and someone we all look up to. I’m just so grateful that I’ve been able to work alongside and learn directly from someone like him at this early part of my career.”
His work with Saka, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Ainsley Maitland-Niles certainly played a role in their ability to make the jump to first team play.
“We’re really sad to see Freddie leave,” says Technical Director Edu, “However, we know he has had various opportunities over the last 12 months and stuck to the job at Arsenal. Now he has the opportunity to consider other options, and it makes sense for his career at this time.”
“Freddie has made a huge contribution in his coaching role, most importantly when he led the team during that difficult period between Unai’s departure and Mikel’s appointment. We will forever be grateful for what he did then and what he’s done since but fully recognise his desire to move on and be a head coach himself.”
Reading between the lines of Technical Director Edu’s quote, it seems like this decision is very much the decision of Freddie. I suspect it is a combination of Arteta having others in mind for larger roles and Freddie seeking the opportunity to be the number one man for a club.
While his time at Arsenal may not be coming to an end in exactly the way his dreams imagined when he took over after Unai Emery, he will leave a legend, find another club to lead to success, and if we are lucky, return to be a legend once more.
Best of luck Freddie and thank you for everything you have offered the club as a player and coach.