Arsenal Women have confirmed the signing of England and Manchester United striker Alessia Russo on a free transfer, confirming Arseblog News’ exclusive story on 15 June reporting that the deal was close.
Our understanding at that point was that a verbal agreement was in place between Russo and Arsenal but the deal was unlikely to be progressed beyond a verbal agreement until her United contract officially expired on June 30. England fly to Australia for the World Cup on Wednesday and have been given a few days off following their 0-0 draw with Portugal, at which point this deal was always slated to be concluded.
The signing represents a big statement for Arsenal, who made a world record bid for Russo at the end of the January transfer window. Striker Stina Blackstenius played in every single match last season due to a lack of depth at centre-forward and Jonas Eidevall was always keen to bring Russo to the club, believing her to be the ideal striker for his system. Russo scored in her last four games against Arsenal in Manchester United colours.
“I’m really excited to be here and I can’t wait to get going,” said Alessia. “I want to win trophies – as does everyone in this club. I can’t wait to get stuck in and grow as a player – it’s a new challenge and a new environment.”
Alessia continued: “I think the growth of the women’s game has been incredible, but particularly at a club like Arsenal. The sell-out against Wolfsburg at Emirates Stadium last season was fantastic, and I’m just really excited to be part of this club.”
Head Coach Jonas Eidevall said: “Alessia is one of the best forwards in the world and has significant potential to continue growing and improving. She has a proven track record of scoring goals in the WSL and at international level and we believe she will be a quality addition to our forward line, so we’re all delighted to have brought her to the club.”
Head of Women’s Football Clare Wheatley said: “We’re delighted to have signed Alessia and I’m sure our supporters will be excited by this news. Alessia is a very talented footballer who fits the profile of player we want to bring to this club. We believe she has a high ceiling for further development and we are confident that we can go to the next level together.”
Russo will wear the number 23 shirt vacated by Mana Iwabuchi. We will have a special Arsecast episode discussing this move out shortly, as well as an in-depth article on why Arsenal pushed the boat out for the player.