Arsenal skipper Per Mertesacker is set to manage the club’s academy when he retires as a player at the end of the 2017/18 football season, according to reports.

The German was announced by the club as a manager in waiting.

The defender agreed a one year deal with the club in January. He would see off the deal before moving into the new coaching role. The club, in a statement, said Mertesacker would continue to play a key role in the squad this forthcoming season while “developing his knowledge and understanding of the academy.”

The player has always been linked with a coaching role for quite some time now. He is often praised for his leadership qualities and knowledge of the game. He joined Arsenal back in 2011 from Werder Bremen. He is a proof that the Premier League giants are increasingly committed to retaining former players.

Arsene Wenger recently hired former goalkeeper Jens Lehmann as part of his backroom staff. MikelArteta famously left the club to join Pep Guardiola at the Etihad when he retired from active play. Others like Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira are coaching elsewhere, far from the club.

“This is the start of an exciting new chapter for me and I am delighted that I will be able to stay part of the Arsenal family. This season I will remain fully focused on my job with the team and am looking forward to a successful last season on the pitch.

“After that, I look forward to the exciting challenge of helping produce young players good enough to play in the Arsenal first team,” the 32-year old said after his appointment.

Wenger praised the player for his traits, adding that he would be “an inspirational figure for everyone connected with the academy.”