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Freddie Ljungberg leaves Arsenal

The current assistant to Mikel Arteta will pursue new opportunities in management

Arsenal v Chelsea - FA Cup Final Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal legend, Invincible, and current assistant to Mikel Arteta, Freddie Ljungberg, announced his departure from the North London club via Twitter.

The news was also released on Arsenal’s team website. The former Invincible will be missed, but his departure is seems to be amicable. Ljungberg is interested in furthering his managerial career and sees this as a necessary move in order to achieve his goal.

Of course Freddie will always be remembered, first and foremost, as a major part of Arsenal’s success in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. However, his contributions to the current Arsenal side cannot be overlooked.

Following Ljungberg’s retirement as a player he was invited by Arsenal to become a team ambassador in 2013 and assist in growing the club’s international presence.

Ljungberg’s first real step towards management came four years later when he joined the Arsenal Academy as the coach for the club’s under-15s. Last season he served as head coach for the Gunners’ under-23’s.

His good work with the academy youngsters is evident in the promotion of players that have become a vital part of the Gunner’s first team. This includes Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson. It’s probably his biggest contribution to the current state of the club and where Arsenal are right now.

When Unai Emery was relieved of his managerial duties last December, Ljungberg stepped up as interim head coach. While he held this position for just three weeks, his impact was noticeable and helped in the transition to Arteta.

Many may not remember but it was Ljungberg who brought the exiled Granti Xhaka back into the fold after Emery had stripped him of the captaincy last October.

The Swede also gave Gabriel Martinelli his first Premier League start at West Ham. His decision was rewarded when the young Brazilian scored the equalizer in an eventual 1-3 victory.

Ljungberg also proved that he was all about discipline in the way he handled Mesut Ozil. In a disappointing December home loss to Manchester City, the German was subbed off after a lackluster performance. Ozil showed his displeasure by kicking his gloves and pouting. When asked about the decision after the match, Ljungberg stated, “For me, at Arsenal, that’s not how we behave, that’s not what we do’ and I stand by that.”

When asked about Ljungberg’s departure, current Technical Director and former teammate Edu said:

We’re really sad to see Freddie leave as we know how much he loves Arsenal. However, we know he has had various opportunities over the last 12 months and stuck to the job at Arsenal.

Now he has the opportunity to consider other options, and it makes sense for his career at this time.

Arteta had nothing but kind words for Ljungberg:

Freddie has been a really important member of my team since my arrival. He did a great job picking the team up when Unai left and we all have 100 per cent respect for him as a man and a coach. I know I’ll be facing him on the touchline in the future.

Ljungberg will be missed, but as the saying goes once a Gooner, always a Gooner. You never know, but maybe Freddie will be back in the future.