Jonas Eidevall is tipping star signing Alessia Russo to make a big impact in the WSL this season.
The England striker joined from rivals Manchester United this summer, with Arsenal seeing off a host of clubs across Europe and the USA.
“I’m obviously delighted to get a top talent like Alessia into the club,” Eidevall exclusively told Sky Sports.
“I see her as a complete forward, she can do all the things you want a No 9 to do. One thing that strikes me after working with her is she has amazing finishing quality.
“It strengthens my belief that she’s someone we can develop into a player that scores a lot of goals in the league. Over time I’m confident that will happen.”
Arsenal’s title challenge last season was derailed by ACL injuries to some of their best players.
Beth Mead, however, is in contention to play against Liverpool on the opening day of the season, October 1. Vivianne Miedema could be back by the end of October and Leah Williamson is expected to return in the New Year.
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“When players are coming back the first feeling is excitement, you’re happy for them,” Eidevall smiles.
“They’ve worked incredibly hard during their rehab and they’re ready to reintegrate into the team.
“The easy thing is to have an expectation the player will return to exactly the same level as she had before her injury. That’s very seldom in reality.
“We need individual approaches to the players and how we help them get back to that level.
“I’m prepared to work hard as well to help them, possibly, get to an even higher level.”
Jonas Eidevall is hopeful Beth Mead can play a part in Arsenal’s opening game of the WSL season.
Mead – top scorer at last year’s Euros – was in the form of her career before her ACL injury in November.
She was an unused substitute for Arsenal’s two Champions League qualifiers earlier this month, and Eidevall admits he has to be careful with the England forward.
“I don’t want to be overly cautious but the Champions League qualifiers was the first time she attended full team training.
“You obviously need more than one training session before you play match minutes. Given that and given she hasn’t had any setbacks since then, she’s getting closer and closer.”
Arsenal are aiming to end Chelsea’s four-year WSL title-winning streak and have strengthened heavily during the off-season.
Jen Beattie, Izzy Christiansen and Rachel Yankey go behind-the-scenes at Arsenal media day, chatting to some very special guests, talking all things pre-season and their predictions for the upcoming WSL season
Laia Codina, who won the World Cup with Spain, Amanda Ilestedt – fresh from the earning World Cup Best XI honours with Sweden – and Canada forward Chloe Lacasse have all joined in addition to Russo.
The club also broke its transfer record to bring in highly-rated Australia midfielder Kyra Cooney-Cross on Deadline Day. The 21-year old is a player Eidevall is extremely excited to coach.
“It was the perfect match. We felt she was right for the club and she felt Arsenal was the right fit for her,” he said.
“There are things, of course, she can learn from Kim [Little] and Wally [Lia Walti]. But there are also things Kyra does that others can learn from. The way she passes the ball is at an extraordinarily high level.
Arsenal have already been knocked out of the Champions League this season, but Jonas Eidevall remains positive
“Yes, we want them to learn but we also want existing players to learn. I feel she does that and that’s the balance we strive for.”
Eidevall is entering his third season at Arsenal and the pressure is on to deliver, especially as there won’t be Champions League football this year.
But the Swedish coach insists he’s more optimistic than he’s ever been.
“I feel excitement around Arsenal,” he concluded. “I feel excitement about new signings. I feel excitement about injured players returning to the pitch, I feel excitement about players extending contracts.
“We have a real momentum going forward as a club and we need to capitalise on that momentum. We need our performances to give people hope and to believe.”
How to follow the WSL on Sky Sports
Follow all the latest from the Women’s Super League across SkySports.com and app, including exclusive features and interviews, plus dedicated live blog coverage and in-game clips from games live on Sky Sports.
You can also watch free match highlights from every WSL game this season on Sky Sports’ digital platforms and YouTube channel, while all matches will continue to be shown on both Sky Sports Football, as well as on Sky Showcase, available in all Sky homes, even without a Sky Sports package, giving the competition greater visibility.
Alongside coverage and visibility for the league across all Sky Sports’ main social media channels, the bespoke Twitter channel @SkySportsWSL will continue to be the home of all Barclays FA WSL content on Sky Sports.
The Sky Sports WSL TikTok account gives fans 360° coverage of the league and granting them exclusive access to their new favourite players. Through fun challenges and interviews, along with behind-the-scenes footage, viewers will get to know the WSL’s array of personalities and see the sport from a new set of angles.
Meanwhile, fans can also keep up to date with everything on and off the pitch with the return of Three Players and a Podcast, hosted by Caroline Barker.