Arsenal have bolstered their attacking options for the remainder of the Women’s Super League title race by adding 36-year-old England veteran Jodie Taylor to their ranks on a free transfer.
Taylor, who has re-signed for the north London club on a short-term deal until the end of the season after her contract with American NWSL club San Diego Wave expired, will only be eligible to play in WSL fixtures. Arsenal have not registered her for their Women’s Champions League squad, ahead of Tuesday’s European quarter-final first leg away against Bayern Munich.
“It feels amazing to be back – like I never left,” Taylor said. “It’s incredible to have this opportunity to come back to the club that I love so much.
A Women’s Champions League winner with French side Lyon in 2020, Taylor must just provide the one or two crucial goals that could make all the difference in an increasingly close-looking race for both the WSL title and the four-way contest for the three much -craved European qualification spots.
A free hit for Arsenal that might just pay dividends
By Tom Garry
This is a surprise move from Arsenal and to many fans, Taylor’s arrival might feel like merely a consolation prize, compared to the club’s attempts to sign England star Alessia Russo, 24, from Manchester United on deadline day in the January transfer window. Arsenal were also heavily linked with Brazil’s Debinha in January, as well as Lyon’s Signe Bruun.
Comparatively, Taylor is approaching the end of her career, and has not scored in over 10 months. The Golden Boot winner at Euro 2017 with five goals for the Lionesses at their tournament, she previously scored 10 times in 17 matches for Arsenal in her first spell with the club in 2016 and 2017, but she only found the net once in 14 NWSL appearances. for San Diego Wave, and surely isn’t the lethal threat in front of goal that she once was.
However, with Arsenal currently lacking depth up front, amid long-term injuries to Ballon d’Or nominees Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema, Taylor’s signing is something of a free hit for the WSL side, and might just prove to be a valuable move for Arsenal in more ways than one.
It feels not dissimilar to that of Manchester United’s acquisition of former Birmingham City and Tottenham Hotspur striker Rachel Williams – now aged 35 – last summer, with Williams’ move understood at the time to have been partly motivated by a desire to add experience to the squad while also helping to nurture Manchester United’s youngsters.
Williams’ signing by Manchester United was derided by many supporters over a perceived lack of ambition, and her goals return of three in 10 WSL substitute appearances from the bench is hardly electric, but one of those was a priceless late winner in a 1-0 win away at Reading, and her arrival in games as a late substitute has enabled Marc Skinner to give his first-choice forwards more rests.
Arsenal manager Jonas Eidevall will be thinking along similar lines with the acquisition of Taylor, who plays with a different style to Williams, but will also add heaps of experience, enable him to rest Stina Blackstenius late in games, and add competition for places.
And as Arsenal chase a first league title since 2019, every goal could be crucial.