De Kat to leave but who will replace him as Arsenal’s U18 coach?

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.


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.




  1. I’d go with either/both Henry and arteta.. Henry is very influential and so Is arteta, they are at a young age and can develop their coaching and managerial skills with the u18’s and progress towards first team in a few years. Just like pep during his barca era.

  2. Personally I don’t think the jonker, de kat, van loon experiment has worked out.

    I also feel there’s some pretty uninspiring coaches right through the club from top to bottom.

    I would love Arsenal to take the opportunity to offer wenger an executive director role, mainly focusing on the rebuilding of the academy and supporting a new first team manager in his assembling of a new coaching set up. I would like to see a smattering of legends involved, however, for me what is important is fresh ideas and approaches. I want to see the u21/u19/u18/u16 teams really inspired and I think wengers “demotion/promotion” to a director and a few legends involved could prove just that.

    1. Atid, firstly, the club strategy is not planned for a couple of seasons, but for decades. The Academy strategy is also very long-term and not based on your comments about “experiment”. Rebuilding the Academy is being done all the time and by professional people. Wenger knows a thing or two about football, but Arsenal has already recruited more capable people to rebuild the Academy.

      “Uninspiring coaches”? I’m sure you don’t have a clue about football and The Arsenal Way. I’m sure you haven’t even met the coaches. So, screaming for fresh ideas and approaches is laughable. The results are important, but there are many things behind the scenes that you and I don’t know about.

      By the way, these so-called “club legends” are not necessarily interested in coaching at all. Secondly, the job opportunities might not be available and a good footballer is not necessarily a good coach.

      Whoever follows Wenger and whenever it might happen, certainly the new manager will be Dutch/Barca – oriented mid-aged experienced manager. The Arsenal Way is based on Dutch/Barca – style and the new manager whenever it might be will be following that. Perhaps Frank De Boer – Dennis Bergkamp partnership from Ajax in summer 2017? It would be very logical in terms of age, experience and Dutch/Barca-connection.

      1. Oh no I don’t I have a clue, passed my first 3 fa coaching badges when had to retire from the game aged 23. Since then I have worked for the local fa’s for 27 years been manager, coach, chairman of various boys and mens clubs, whilst also scouting. Even now I am well involved, coaching in Asia, Middle East and at home. So don’t comment about what I know, you don’t even know me.

        I said “uninspiring” based upon feedback from the young lads I know that have returned from the arsenal academy. In fact I would say the arsenal academy coaches that I have worked with in Asia have far greater enthisiasm.

        As for meeting coaches, I have even discussed strategies with wenger himself as well as many pros, having played with quite a few of them at all levels bar professional, due mainly to injury and getting arthritis in my 20s.

        I wont, even drop to your level and start insulting you, but you really should ask before slating me and saying I don’t have a clue.

        As for the “experiment” comment, 10 years u say? Sorry I didn’t realise Kat joined in 2006, I thought it was 2 years ago!!

  3. Hi Jeorge. I love your blog. Thanks for all the updates. You probably plan on doing something like this anyways but I was interested in your opinions on some young talents coming through. Do you think Zelalem will make it? Has Crowley’s progress stagnated this year? Who are the young players who you really think have a chance to break through to the first team at some stage?

  4. I think making ampadu and van loon coaches of u 18 then putting Henry at u 16 would be good. Or moving Garry to u 16 and Henry to 13s if 16s is too high too early.

  5. maybe put steve bould back in charge of the under 18’s, they were very good under his stewardship the first time around. maybe if we can tempt bergkamp back to work with henry and ampadu at this level, so they can move up to levels in the future.

  6. The youths at Arsenal thinks they are amazing and already proven stars. Maybe put them under real pressure and hard work first. I think its more physiological than actually skills at Arsenal. They youngsters are really acting like they are better than the opponents and then get complete destroy many times. I see no real energy and signs of hard work in the highlights.

    Its complete different from what Bould did with the youngsters. The tempo of the youths compared to chelsea and City is also different.

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