The women’s team at Arsenal football club have made some huge changes over the summer. Whilst some players have departed, we have also seen some very positive additions to the squad as well as a brand-new manager in Jonas Eidevall.
After the departure of first team manager Joe Montemurro at the end of last season, former FC Rosengård head coach Jonas Eidvall has been announced as the man to take charge of the gunners. The Swede has accumulated multiple honours during his time at Rosengård, including winning three Damallsvenskan titles and one Swedish Cup. Eidevall has supported the Arsenal since he was a young boy and has been known to give special praise to Arsene Wenger for his tactical brilliance. In an official interview on Arsenal’s website, the boss has said: “Wenger’s Arsenal was the eye-opener”. He added: “Coaches like that always amaze me because they are able to get their teams to play beautiful football”. Eidevall will certainly be looking to take the WSL by storm this season with his own tactical expertise, especially with the additions of some major new signings.
The first addition of the summer was Japanese international Mana Iwabuchi. Iwabuchi was a stand-out player last season for Aston Villa, showing great technical ability in the short period that she was with the club. She also made her mark in this years women’s football tournament at the Tokyo Olympic games after scoring once for her country in the group stages. The forward has already recorded her first goal for the club after scoring on her debut in Russia against Okzhetpes in a Champions League qualifier.
Another addition to the squad this summer was England international Nikita Parris from Lyon. The striker has won an impressive array of titles during her career, including the 2019/20 Champions League. She has also won many trophies during her time in England as a player for Manchester City prior to moving to France, including the Women’s Super League and the FA Cup. Parris was also named the FWA Women’s Footballer of the Year in 2019. The former Lyon star has also been a prominent member of the England squad for years and has also represented Great Britain in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Parris has already emphasised her excitement to work alongside Vivianne Miedema, stating: “Ultimately I hope that we can create a great partnership with the rest of the forwards in order to push Arsenal Football Club forward”.
Not only have the gunners made some improvements to their attacking force, but they have also strengthened their defensive line. Danish defender Simone Boye Sorensen was named as another edition to the squad at the end of July after signing from Bayern Munich. The 29-year-old already has had experience playing under Eidevall during her spell at FC Rosengård and so is expected to fit nicely into the system.
Another addition to this season’s squad is 22-year-old Norwegian midfielder Frida Maanum. The young midfielder joins the gunners from Linköpings FC in Sweden and is expected to bring great technical and leadership qualities to the team. Maanum already plays a prominent part in the Norwegian national team and played a crucial part in helping them to secure a place in the 2022 European Championships.
Although the club have made some exciting signings, we have also seen the departure of some key first team players. Leonie Maier was the first to leave this summer after the expiry of her contract, she has since signed for Women’s Super League team Everton. Ruby Mace has also made the move from one WSL club to another after leaving the gunners to sign a three-year deal at Manchester City. The 17-year-old caught the attention of many football fans last season after a successful spell with Birmingham City. Another player to have left the club is midfielder Danielle Van De Donk, who recently completed a transfer to Lyon. Van De Donk became an integral part of Arsenal’s midfield in recent years. The final departure of the window so far was Lisa Evans who will spend the next season on loan to fellow London club West Ham United.
This summer has also seen contract extensions for some key players in the current squad. Academy graduate and fan-favourite Leah Williamson has extended in a bid to continue her legacy at the club. In an interview on the official Arsenal website she has discussed her love for the club, saying: “I’ve signed because I’ve always said that this is my club”.
Goalkeeper Lydia Williams has also decided to extend her stay in North London for another season. The Australian international joined the club last season and has featured across all competitions. Williams will be looking to continue her good form going into the new season.
This season will bring some positive changes to both the WSL and Arsenal as a club. For the first time ever the Women’s Super League will be shown regularly on both Sky Sports and on the BBC, meaning that it is much more accessible for viewing. Arsenal will be starting their 2021/22 league campaign at home to Chelsea on Saturday September 5, the game will be shown live on Sky Sports and it will be the first ever WSL game hosted at the Emirates Stadium in London.