Appointing Freddie Ljungberg as Arsenal’s assistant coach is definitely an exciting and satisfying news, something which is very rare these days at the Emirates, for the fans. But first, let’s talk about Steve Bould, the former assistant coach.
There are two trains of thought on the contribution of former assistant coach, Steve Bould. The first was that he never shone in the role and under performed, offering little to enhance the efficiency and creativity of the squad.
The second theory is that he wasn’t given enough freedom in the position and that he was simply the go between after Arsene Wenger’s exit. Bould was seen as a source of stability amid a sea of change which served to smooth the path of transition.
Of course, it could be a mixture of the two theories and it’s said that once Emery decided on change, then Bould was asked to work in coaching role with Arsenal’s emerging academy prospects.
The Swede had a decent season with the under 23’s and was influential in the development of many of the club’s future stars. So it made perfect sense to use the established former Arsenal fans favourite, in an elevated position.
So many times in the past, the promise of young players has been squandered, as Arsenal have replaced established stars from outside the club, a process that has delivered mixed results.
There’s the added bonus that Ljungberg has managed to avoid the hype that suffocated Thierry Henry’s fledgling managerial career, something which was almost expected of a player with his legendary status.
Ljungberg has settled in, rolled up his sleeves and used his experience wisely. He is also a name that comes with immense pedigree and someone who has worked with Arsenal’s iconic stars from the 90’s but the big question is, will he be allowed a meaningful role ?
Acting as a bridge between the academy and first team is all well and good, but if the assistant is to reach his potential as a possible replacement for Unai Emery in the future, he will need to start as he means to go on and be seen as a credible force. Not just as Emery’s No. 2, but someone who can help improve the side with innovative ideas and training methods.
Emery is the man in charge, the man with his head on the block, in which many are referring to as his defining season.
Arsenal aren’t really helping the Spaniard in the transfer window at present and he may need to work with a less ambitious shopping list, but that surely means that the academy players will feature fairly heavily. This is certainly an area where Freddie Ljungberg will excel and be of enormous benefit in the new season ahead.
The other question is whether Emery had the final say on Ljungberg’s progression to the position of assistant, given the fact that the Spaniard usually surrounds himself with familiar faces in his back room staff.
It may be that Emery noted the Swede’s contribution and felt that Ljungberg had everything he was looking for or it could be that the hierarchy hinted that the under 23 coach, needed to be promoted as part of its program of ongoing changes.
Emery, Ljungberg and Edu has a ring to it and it could be a combination that bares fruit for the club and its long suffering fans.
However, the spot light now shifts to the former Brazilian midfielder, to see what he can achieve in his role as technical director.
Stay updated as we wait for interesting times ahead.