Monday 1 May 2017

Arsenal academy chief Andries Jonker leaves the Gunners announced as Wolfsburg's new manager

Andries Jonker has left Arsenal
Andries Jonker has left Arsenal

Dutchman Andries Jonker has left his job as director of Arsenal's youth academy to become the new head coach of Bundesliga strugglers Wolfsburg.

He replaces Frenchman Valerien Ismael, who left the club on Sunday after the 2-1 home defeat by Werder Bremen left them 14th in the table.

The 54-year-old Jonker has signed a deal with Wolfsburg which will see him remain as coach until 2018.

Sporting director Olaf Rebbe told the club's official website: "Andries Jonker knows VfL Wolfsburg well and maintained regular contact with the club even after his move to London.

"Both factors were vital in us achieving this top solution so quickly. He is an internationally experienced coach and an expert tactician, who provides the best possible requirements to get VfL back on track quickly and sustainably."

The 2008/09 Bundesliga champions decided to make a change after Ismael, a former defender with the club, won six games in 17 matches in charge having taken over from Dieter Hecking in October 2016.

Jonker, who was assistant to Felix Magath at Wolfsburg from 2012 to 2014, has also coached at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Following Ismael's departure, Rebbe explained to the club website: "Having considered all the facts and circumstances, we came to the mutual conclusion that a parting of ways is the correct measure in order to get the team back onto a successful track.

"Our decision was not based solely on the most recent result of the game against Bremen, but rather based upon the impressions and results from recent weeks and months.

"We would like to thank Valerien Ismael for immediately agreeing to take charge of the team during a very difficult phase in October 2016 and making a massive effort to improve the situation. In spite of all of our very best efforts, we have not been successful in getting back on track sportingly."

Jonker was due to be presented at a press conference at 2pm (CET) on Monday.

Before leaving the Gunners Jonker told the Arsenal website: "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 Arsene Wenger for all the support.

"There are some top young players in the Arsenal academy. I look forward to seeing them progress their careers."

Gazidis added: "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."

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