Arsenal Ladies have a tradition of trying to sign the best of British talent which has been reflected in their consistent winning form. Of course, Arsenal Ladies have also tried in the past to sign players from all over the world : American players, Ingvild Stensland of Norway or Ramona Bachmann of Switzerland, not to mention all those French and Brazilian players who came on trial during training sessions. A Brazilian player’s potential signing was allegedly behind the departure of Tony Gervaise a few seasons ago.
So after another double, why should the club look to sign some players soon? If we look at the last 2012 matchday programme, there are seven players in their 30′s at the moment. These are Emma Byrne, Yvonne Tracy, Jayne Ludlow, Faye White, Ciara Grant, Rachel Yankey and Kelly Smith. Not to mention Julie Fleeting who has always been in and out of the squad as she has been living in Scotland and on maternity leave for a long time. In that list there is one goalkeeper, three center backs, one central midfielder, one left winger and one playmaker/center forward. I believe the club should look for a goalkeeper, a center back, a left winger and a central midfield to cover for those seven potential departures/retirements.
One Goalkeeper because Emma Byrne’s double injury last season left the club short of options while Becky Spencer was away with Birmingham. Laura Harvey seemed to have limited trust in Sophie Harris as Emma played many games while obviously not 100% fit.
- One center back at least because the three players on the list might retire very soon and there is a need for competition alongside our main center back Gilly Flaherty.
- One left winger, preferably left footed, to keep a balance in the team and prepare to take over from Rachel Yankey in maybe in a season or two.
- One central midfielder to add depth to the squad alongside the three starters Chapman, Nobbs and Little.
Whether or not Arsenal make all these changes, like the men’s team, remains to be seen.
Here is a list of targets and why should they be recruited (note they are all under contract for 2013 as far as I know )
GK Carly Telford, Chelsea Ladies : Her main strength are explosivity and phenomenal kicking skill mixing precision and power. An excelent shot stopper as well.
GK Mary Earps, Doncaster Belles : A young goalkeeper who has done very well last season. Again an explosive goalkeeper who has improved a lot in a year’s time. Safe on her line and good in the air as well.
CB Jemma Rose, Bristol Academy : The best young english center back by a mile besides our own Gilly, was given the main role in a back 3 alongside 2 full backs last season. Very strong header and in one on one situation, known to score the odd goal, would complement Flaherty very well.
CM Jessica Fishlock, Bristol Academy : simply the best all around central midfield player last season, recognised by the other players and fans. People still wonder why Fara Williams was chosen ahead of her for Team GB, answer on a postcard please.
CM Jill Scott, Everton Ladies. She has been the most consistent players from the England team for a couple of seasons now. Has a strong engine and can score goals as well. Could have gone and play on the continent this season, but decided to stay another year at Everton.
LW Claire Rafferty, Chelsea Ladies . The club tried to sign her previously but she preferred staying at Chelsea. A quality technical left foot with fantastic crossing ability, she can also play at left back and could combine with Yankey for a season before taking over on the wing.