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Freddie Ljungberg leaves Arsenal in search of managerial experience

(Image credit: Tess Derry)

Freddie Ljungberg is leaving his role as Arsenal assistant coach to pursue a career in management.

The 43-year-old established himself as a fan favourite during his playing days in north London, where he was part of the Premier League-winning Invincibles side of 2003-04.

Ljungberg won two league titles and three FA Cups as a player with the Gunners, whose Under-15 and Under-23 sides he led before a stint as assistant to Unai Emery and then his temporary successor.

The Swede returned to the role of assistant coach when Mikel Arteta was appointed in December, but the former midfielder has now decided to leave Arsenal for a new challenge.

“I have decided to leave my first-team assistant coaching role at Arsenal to progress my management experience,” Ljungberg said.

“I have been involved with this club on and off since 1998 and am grateful for all the opportunities they have given me both as a player and as a coach.

“I wish Mikel and all the team every success for the season ahead. Thanks also to the fans for their constant support and for always being by my side. I hope we will all meet again soon.”

Ljungberg, who spent time as assistant to Andries Jonker at Wolfsburg in 2017, managed six first-team matches as caretaker Arsenal boss, with the 3-1 triumph against former club West Ham his only win.

Freddie Ljungberg assisted Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta

Freddie Ljungberg assisted Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta (John Walton/PA)

He was part of the backroom staff that helped oversee the Gunners’ FA Cup win against Chelsea last month and technical director Edu understands his former team-mate’s decision.

“We’re really sad to see Freddie leave as we know how much he loves Arsenal,” the Brazilian told the club’s website.

“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.

“Freddie has made a huge contribution in his coaching role, most importantly when he led the team during that difficult period between Unai’s departure and Mikel’s appointment.

“We will forever be grateful for what he did then and what he’s done since but fully recognise his desire to move on and be a head coach himself.”

Academy graduate Bukayo Saka, fresh from a superb breakthrough season, led the praise for Ljungberg, who head coach Arteta also offered his thanks to.

“Freddie has been a really important member of my team since my arrival,” the Arsenal boss said.

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“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.”

Saka said: “Freddie has given us all so much valuable advice and support. He’s a fantastic coach and someone we all look up to.

“I’m just so grateful that I’ve been able to work alongside and learn directly from someone like him at this early part of my career.”