Frans De Kat will step down as coach of Arsenal U18s at the conclusion of the current campaign, with the 51-year-old poised to take up a position with the Dutch football association.
De Kat’s tenure hasn’t exactly been positive in terms of results- Arsenal finished bottom of the lowest section of the U18 Premier League last season- but he has helped to nurture some impressive prospects over the past couple of years.
Arsenal U18s, then, find themselves on the lookout for yet another coach, and here is an assessment of some of the potential candidates to fill the position.
Perhaps the logical choice as De Kat’s successor, Ampadu is the current coach of Arsenal’s U16 side, so he inevitably is hugely familiar with the players who will make up the core of the club’s U18 squad next season.
Ampadu has a strong association with Arsenal having featured for the club at youth level as a player before making two senior appearances.
JAN VAN LOON
Another Dutch coach, van Loon joined Arsenal alongside De Kat and has shared U16 coaching duties with Ampadu.
Van Loon has previously worked for the Dutch Football Association and PSV Eindhoven.
The club’s record goalscorer has been a regular presence at U18 matches this season, helping to provide Arsenal’s youngsters with advice.
With his UEFA A Licence now obtained, Henry is permitted to coach at academy level, but it seems more likely that he will be an assistant coach for the U18s next season as opposed to taking on the main position.
Another former Arsenal player- indeed an academy product himself- Garry is the current coach of the club’s U13 side, while he also oversaw some U19 training sessions alongside Henry this campaign.
Perhaps stepping up to the U18s next season would be a step too soon for Garry, but he may well be under consideration for the position.
Arsenal’s captain is out of contract at the conclusion of the current campaign and has been linked with coaching posts at Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. The 34-year-old has played for Arsenal’s U21 side and is familiar with the club’s youth setup, so could be tempted to remain with the Gunners in a coaching capacity.
Laraman previously coached Arsenal U18s before stepping up to assist Steve Gatting at U21 level. There is a possibility that he could revert back to his former position given his familiarity with the club’s youngsters.