Freddie Ljungberg, a member of the Invincibles, has decided to quit his first-team assistant coaching role at Arsenal to progress his management experience and career.
For a great many of us, Freddie Ljungberg is an Arsenal legend. He’s associated with better times, better players and a period in time when Arsenal were the best side in the Country. Perhaps, not in terms of trophies, but in the sense of the purity of their football which gave immense pleasure to millions, especially Arsenal fans.
Freddie came back to his spiritual home in 2018 to become a coaching influence with the under 23’s and replaced Steve Bould as Unai Emery’s assistant before he took over as the temporary coach after the Spaniard was sacked in 2019.
In all fairness to Emery, it’s said that Freddie Ljungberg wasn’t his preferred choice but he’d grown used to that at Arsenal. When Ljungberg took over the reins, he had limited time and power to make the necessary changes as Arsenal searched for a successor. Ljungberg was never considered as the replacement and watched helplessly as the club appointed Mikel Arteta.
During his caretaker role, Arsenal performances were patchy at best, but the Swede tried to steady the ship and get back to basics. The style of football Freddie wanted was way beyond the individuals in his team and it’s hard to implement any form of philosophy when you are not the permanent appointment.
Arteta arrived in December 2019 and although Ljungberg was still classed as a first-team coach, it was clear he’d fallen down the pecking order and was relegated to a position that he felt was beneath him. It was a downgrade, a retrospective career move in the opposite direction to his own personal ambitions.
In came Albert Stuivenberg, Steve Round and Inaki Cana Pavon, but it’s Round who has assumed a position of influence within the setup, and perhaps, that was the last straw. Would it have worked with Freddie in charge?
It’s hard to say but Arteta has served under Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking champions and was the obvious choice for the role. Freddie Ljungberg had a major impact on the emerging younger players, but Per Mertesacker has taken that role. So there was nowhere for Freddie to go.
He’d been forwards, backwards and sideways and in doing so, decided that in order to progress, he had to go in an entirely different direction, sadly not with Arsenal. I’m sure every Arsenal fan wishes him well, he will remain a Gooner no matter where he goes.