Arsenal appoint former Liverpool and Aussie Rules fitness coach after being ‘hand-picked’ by Arsene Wenger


Arsenal are set to add high performance coach Darren Burgess to their backroom team.

Arsene 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.

Burgess, who leaves Port Adelaide in the AFL, could also have a role in recruitment in what appears to be a wide-ranging brief beginning next month.

“We acknowledge that this is a life changing opportunity for Darren,” said the AFL club’s chief executive Keith Thomas.

“But what we’ve been able to do is work with Arsenal to enact a transition process which limits any impact or disruption to our football program for this year, and retain Darren’s expertise for our 2018 planning.

“We are appreciative of Arsenal’s understanding that the integrity of our football program is the absolute priority for our club.”

Burgess himself is excited at the opportunity to return to work in English football after a spell with Liverpool between 2010 and 2012.

“The opportunity to return to the English Premier League and work at one of the world’s most successful sporting organisations in Arsenal is an opportunity I simply couldn’t refuse,” he said.

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“I look forward to continue having a relationship with Port Adelaide from afar and thank the entire club for their support and many great memories over two stints.”

Burgess worked under three different managers at Anfield as the club’s head of fitness and conditioning and is a big part of Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis’ wider plans to revamp the club after a disappointing season.

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