Norwich City confirmed on Friday afternoon that Ben Knapper will join the club as their new sporting director on November 27th.
Knapper currently works as Arsenal’s loan manager, a role he’s held for four years, but he’s been working at the club in some capacity for 13 years now.
The Athletic report that Knapper will begin at Norwich City by working through a handover period with the club’s current sporting director Stuart Webber.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be joining Norwich City,” Knapper said. “It is a club that I’ve admired from afar for a long time. My interactions and dealings with the club over the years have always been very positive.
“It is a club that has always left an impression on me, and I’ve been really impressed with how they operate.
“There are clearly some very good foundations already in place. I’m really looking forward to getting started, meeting everyone, and contributing to the next chapter of success in the club’s journey.”
Arsenal’s loan processes certainly seem to have improved in recent years, with Folarin Balogun and Joe Willock among the examples of players who significantly increased their value out on loan.
Then there are those who have impressed on loans before coming back to join the first-team squad, like William Saliba, Emile Smith Rowe, Mohamed Elneny, Reiss Nelson, and Eddie Nketiah.
The hope is that the recent improvement has as much to do with the new structure at the club as anything else, but Knapper certainly seems to be well-respected at Arsenal and it will be a shame to lose him.
“We are so proud that Ben has been appointed sporting director at Norwich City,” Edu Gaspar said.
“Of course, we are all sad Ben is leaving us, because he is such a top professional and person, and we have enjoyed a great working relationship together.
“He has been a huge asset to us during his career at Arsenal, where he has developed through our performance analysis teams to become our highly successful loans and pathway manager.
“Ben has played a key role in the positive development of so many of our men’s players over the years, where he has driven a part of our football strategy to give our players the best possible experience, to ensure they return to us with enhanced qualities to continue their careers with us or elsewhere.
“We are proud to have given Ben the opportunities to develop his own career too, and we wish him all the best in his next chapter with Norwich City.”