Arsenal are set to appoint Darren Burgess as their new head of high performance.
The Australian will join from AFL side Port Adelaide from next month and is set to be in charge of the club’s medical and fitness operations amongst a number of other areas.
Arsene Wenger is believed to be a big fan and is said to have ‘hand-picked’ Burgess for the role.
Here’s a little more detail on Arsenal’s latest recruit:
Who is he?
Burgess is a highly-regarded fitness coach who has worked for a number of big-name sports teams in a variety of fields.
What has he done before?
Burgess spent a three-year spell at Liverpool where he worked under the title of head of fitness and performance under Kenny Dalglish, Roy Hodgson and Brendan Rodgers.
Up until his switch to Arsenal Burgess has been working for Australian Rules side Port Adelaide as their head of high performance. He also worked with the Australian national football team during the run up to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
What is he going to do?
Wenger is said to have ‘hand-picked’ Burgess to work in conjunction with current staff with responsibility over medical, psychology and performance analysis as well as other areas.
He could also have a role in recruitment in what appears to be a wide-ranging brief.
What are people saying about him?
Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas: “When we set out to rebuild our program we committed to being a global best practice sports organisation. To have a club like Arsenal hand pick Darren is testament to the calibre of our personnel, our football program and ultimately our organisation.”
When does he start?
Burgess will begin his role next month but will return to Port Adelaide at the end of July to help oversee the end of the AFL’s regular season and will stay on should they reach the playoffs before returning to work with the Gunners full time.
Is there anything else involved?
As part of Burgess’ move the two clubs will now pursue a partnership hoping “to grow sports science and professional development opportunities between Highbury and Alberton”.