WSL: Arsenal sign Sweden defender Ilestedt


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Experienced defender Amanda Ilestedt has become Arsenal Women’s first summer signing.

The Swedish centre-back makes the switch to north London following a two-year spell with French side Paris Saint-Germain.

The Gunners remain short of defensive options after Leah Williamson suffered a long-term knee injury in April and centre-back partner Rafaelle Souza departed the club the following month.

Ilestedt, 30, is an experienced Sweden international with 64 caps, and has been selected to represent her country at this summer’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Head coach Jonas Eidevall said: “I’m delighted Amanda has joined us here at Arsenal.

“She brings extensive international experience and I believe she has a great mix of presence and technical ability, making her an ideal fit for our squad.”

Amanda Ilestedt is international team-mates with Arsenal striker Stina Blackstenius
Amanda Ilestedt is international team-mates with Arsenal striker Stina Blackstenius

“I’m really excited and happy to be here,” said Ilestedt. “My goal is to win titles and this is a great club with great players and fantastic facilities, so I believe this is the right place for me to achieve that.

“There is a real sense of momentum around this club and the support has been wonderful – I can’t wait to walk out onto the pitch in the Arsenal kit.”

Analysis: Ilestedt perfect cover for Williamson

Sky Sports’ Laura Hunter:

“The injury blow to Leah Williamson and the summer departure of regular centre-back partner Rafaelle Souza made it very apparent Arsenal need to make defensive cover a priority in this window.

“The signing of Amanda Ilestedt, while slightly older than most of Arsenal’s summer targets, makes sense on that basis alone. She is the profile of defender that will suit Arsenal’s progressive style of play – as Jonas Eidevall notes, “presence and technical ability” combined. Her experience will also be welcome as Eidevall attempts to build a more complete squad in the wake of last season’s injury crisis – Eidevall has worked with Ilestedt in Sweden previously.

“Arsenal fell some way short of the Women’s Super League title last term, and the latter stages of their luckless campaign exposed a somewhat threadbare squad. They pushed as far as they could and coped well considering, reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, but an obvious lack of strength in depth was evident.

“Eidevall admitted as much himself in May: ‘It has to be a very big transfer window for us this summer, given both last summer and winter windows were not good enough for us.’

“Arsenal shipped five goals in their final three WSL fixtures, more than their previous eight combined. And with Williamson due to be sidelined until at least December, defensive options are in short supply. This signing is a necessary but smart addition.”

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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