Arsenal confirm signing of former Man Utd and Lionesses striker in major WSL deal
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Arsenal have continued their sensational start to the transfer window by confirming the signing of Lionesses striker Alessia Russo.
The 24-year-old former Manchester United striker had been one of the most sought after players in the world but, despite interest from America and French giants Lyon, it is Jonas Eidevall’s team that has won the race for her signature.
“I’m really excited to be here and I can’t wait to get going,” said Russo. “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.”
Russo added: “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.”
Swedish head coach Eidevall was equally delighted to finally see Russo in the red of Arsenal, saying: "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.”
The powerful forward was subject of a world record £500,000 bid from Arsenal in January but saw the bid rejected by Manchester United with Marc Skinner’s side vying with the Gunners for the WSL title at the time.
The United boss would later go on to say he wasn’t “at the level of concerned” regarding Russo’s contract and that he was “hopeful” that both parties could reach an agreement - though that agreement would never materialise.
Russo was named Manchester United’s player of the year at the end of the 2022/2023 season, though whispers of an imminent transfer to North London grew louder by the hour with former Gunners’ goalkeeper Emma Byrne even going as far as to say she believed Russo would “definitely” be swapping the red of United for that of the Arsenal back on May 30.
Arsenal have also confirmed that Russo will wear her favoured number 23 shirt for the capital club.
In 2020, Russo joined Manchester United and scored a total of 26 goals in 59 appearances in all competitions during her three years with the club, however, it was at international level where the powerful forward rose to global superstardom after scored four goals during the Lionesses Euro 2022 success, including a memorable backheel in the semi-final against Sweden which was named Goal of the Tournament by UEFA and was later nominated for the 2022 FIFA Puskas Award.
Elsewhere, Manchester United have targetted Brazilian striker Geyse as a replacement for their former goalscorer though ManchesterWorld understands Barcelona are adamant they want to hold onto their forward - though a large bid could change that stance.
Geyse’s agent recently admitted in an Instagram live that he has “no idea if she will stay” with the Spanish giants, adding “she has a contract; the decision depends on her and Barça. We will listen to any offer, she has very good offers.”