Arsene Wenger: Freddie Ljungberg promised to come back to Arsenal before he joined Wolfsburg

James Benge
Ljungberg worked in Arsenal's youth setup before joining Wolfsburg: Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsene Wenger has opened the door for Freddie Ljungberg to one day return to Arsenal’s coaching setup after the Swede joined Wolfsburg as an assistant manager.

Ljungberg, who won two league titles and three FA Cups as an Arsenal player between 1998 and 2007, followed former Arsenal academy head Andries Jonker to the Bundesliga side this week and will serve as a number two for the Dutchman.

The 39-year-old had been coaching Arsenal’s Under-15s as he looked to earn his badges but Wenger made Ljungberg promise it would not be the end for him at London Colney.

"Freddie has done extremely well with the under-15s here," said the boss. "I was in touch with him constantly during his experience there.

"We gave him permission to go, but with a promise that he will come back if there’s a possibility to come back here. Overall, I think it’s part of his education to become a coach, to have this kind of experience. Hopefully we can use that later at Arsenal.”

Arsenal are expected to look outside the club for a replacement for Jonker, with Gunners legend Dennis Bergkamp among those under consideration.

Jonker’s near-three year spell at Hale End was not an unqualified success but the likes of Hector Bellerin and Alex Iwobi showed that the path from the youth setup to Arsenal first-team remains open.

Wenger did not stand in Jonker’s way and expects the 54-year-old to be a success at the struggling Bundesliga side. Wolfsburg are currently just two points above the relegation zone.

“Andries has been at Wolfsburg before,” Wenger added. “They knew him and they took advantage of the fact they know him to attract him there.

“Wolfsburg is a good opportunity because they have the third [highest] budget in the league. If you look at their team, their squad, they have very good players, so I think he has a good opportunity there to get them out of the relegation battle and as well to prepare to be their long-term coach there.”

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