Arsenal have completed the signing of Darren Burgess from Australian rules football club Port Adelaide and their head of high performance will join the club from the month of July. However, as agreed with the Gunners, he will continue his association with Port for the remainder of the AFL season and the start of pre-season in 2018.
The fitness expert has had experience in the Premier League, having spent two and a half years as the head of fitness and conditioning with Liverpool, between 2010 and 2013, under managers Kenny Dalglish, Roy Hodgson and Brendan Rodgers. The trainer will work closely with the Arsenal medical staff to reduce injuries and supplement performance as the north London club head into the next season with a lot to prove.
The Gunners have historically struggled with injuries and last season saw Santi Cazorla and Per Mertesacker miss out with long term injuries. Aaron Ramsey has also been struggling to keep fit for a concerted period of time and Burgess will be looking to use his expertise in the field to reduce such occurrences. Burgess thanked Port for their unending support and revealed his excitement at returning to England.
"Reaching this decision has been one of the toughest decisions in my professional career", said Mr Burgess to Port's official website. "My family loves the lifestyle of Adelaide and more importantly we love everything about the Port Adelaide Football Club.
"When the opportunity came up to return to Port Adelaide I had no hesitation in returning. Port Adelaide is like family and once you've worked in this environment with so many outstanding people it is very difficult to leave.
"It's especially difficult knowing the club is on the right path for sustained success both on and off the field. However, 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.
"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."