Arsenal Women head coach Joe Montemurro will leave his role at the end of the current season.
Montemurro guided the Gunners to their first Women’s Super League title in seven years back in 2019, having won the Continental Cup a year earlier. As a result, he was named the WSL’s Manager of the Year.
The Australian coach is leaving “to take a professional break to recharge” and to spend more time with his family.
Speaking upon the announcement of the news on Wednesday, Montemurro said: “My three-and-a-half years at Arsenal have been a fantastic adventure, the highlight of my coaching career. I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from some of the best in the industry on and off the pitch.
“This has been the hardest professional decision of my life, as I absolutely love this job and this club, the club I have supported all my life. I’m hugely grateful to the club for their unrelenting support during my time here and in understanding and respecting my decision.
“I’ve had a fantastic time here at Arsenal and I am proud of what we have achieved. I must thank all the fans, players, staff and the club. This club has always been a leader in women’s football and I will be cheering us on to the next level as I watch as a passionate and enduring fan.
“My focus now is helping the team to complete the season strongly and finishing as high as possible in the WSL, leaving the club in good shape for the future.”
Montemurro has brought an attractive and attacking style of play to Arsenal that not only resonates with the style the club is widely associated with, but one that has won many plaudits from the outside too. He achieved this by recruiting and putting his trust in exciting young players and aiding their development.
The Gunners are the most successful women’s team in England, but were in a difficult period when he arrived from Melbourne City, where he won three trophies. After coming into the role midway through the 2017-18 season, Montemurro guided the club to two cup finals before the season ended – winning the Conti Cup and finishing as runners-up in the Women’s FA Cup.
The following year, he delivered Arsenal’s first league title since 2012 and returned them to the Women’s Champions League, from which they had been absent for five years.
This season has been more difficult, however. After finishing outside of the European spots last year, Arsenal struggled in the first half of the season and looked like they could miss out again. That saw pressure piled on the Aussie as a result, particularly with key players, such as Vivianne Miedema and Leah Williamson, being linked with transfers away.
However, a win over Manchester United earlier this month means that the race for the Champions League is back in Arsenal’s hands, despite a crippling amount of injuries suffered this season. Should Montemurro guide the team to a top-three finish, it would end his tenure on a high, given many thought the Gunners were out of the picture only a few months ago.