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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker will move from the pitch to the touchline next season to become the club’s academy manager.
The club announced the news on their official website and Twitter page, which will see the giant German hang up his boots at the end of the upcoming season at the age of 33:
Since joining from German side Werder Bremen in the summer of 2011, the 6’5″ centre back has established himself as one of the key players in Arsene Wenger’s side, and is currently the club’s official captain.
A natural leader at the heart of the defence, the 32-year-old has made 209 appearances across all competitions for the Gunners, scoring eight goals, with his first coming in their 5-2 victory over Tottenham in the north London derby.
However last season saw him reduced to an onlooker as a serious knee injury kept him out of action for the majority of the season, before a couple of appearances on the bench in March and April.
His only Premier League outing came on the final day as he returned as a substitute against Everton, while he captained the side for the full 90 minutes as the Gunners overcame Chelsea to pick up their third FA Cup trophy in four years.
Mertesacker was also a key player for his country, as he became the eighth most capped German international with 104 caps, before deciding to retire from international duty following their victory at the 2014 World Cup.