In an interview with the Telegraph, Arsenal Head of Football Raul Sanllehi revealed that Per Mertesacker has joined the club’s executive team. The move comes as part of an effort to increase the “football representation” at the highest level of club decision-making.
Mertesacker becomes the 4th footballing representative on the 15-man executive team, which covers “everything that [Arsenal] do as an organisation,” says Managing Director Vinai Venkatesham. He joins Huss Fahmy, Sven Mislintat, and Raul Sanllehi as the footballing minds on that team.
While Sanllehi did not say whether Mertesacker would continue in his role at Hale End, it is assumed he will. The other members of the executive team have jobs and responsibilities at the club in addition to their participation on the team; there is no reason why Mertesacker should be any different.
It’s been a busy month for Per. A few weeks ago, Oliver Bierhoff, general manager of the German national team, invited him to join a newly-formed advisory board tasked with examining Germany’s World Cup failure and recommending changes to the national team program. Mertesacker surely has ideas of his own, but should he need more, Mesut Özil probably has a few suggestions for him to pass along.
Hannover 96, the German club where Mertesacker started his professional career, held a testimonial for the BFG during the recent international break. Merte’s 96 Friends took on a team of international players managed by none other than Arsene Wenger. Towards the end of the match, a visibly emotional Mertesacker was subbed off and replaced by his 67-year old father.
For a guy who retired at the end of last season, Mertesacker has done well for himself. He clearly has a respected and trusted voice when it comes to football operations, and I would not be surprised to see him move further up the management ladder in the coming years.