Arsenal have announced midfielder Jill Roord is leaving the club to join German side VfL Wolfsburg.
The Dutch international joined Arsenal from Bayern Munich in 2019, making 50 appearances for the Gunners. She was a versatile member of the Arsenal team, acting as a defensive midfielder in her opening season with the club.
Roord then moved further up the pitch in her second season to become more of an attacking threat. As a result, she will leave Arsenal with 15 goals to her name, including three hat-tricks.
Her departure has put the rumour mill into overdrive – who will Arsenal bring in to replace Roord? According to journalist Tim Stillman, a replacement has already been signed. GiveMeSport Women runs through the possibilities.
Ingrid Syrstad Engen
With Roord heading to VfL Wolfsburg, a direct swap with Ingrid Engen could be on the cards. The Norwegian international has already revealed she is not extending her contract with the German club this year, so will definitely be departing at the end of the season.
Primarily a box-to-box midfielder, Engen would be able to cover Roord’s defensive and attacking duties. She seems to have less of an eye for goal than Roord, however, so other players may have to step up to ensure Arsenal’s attack is no less potent.
Manchester United’s Lauren James has been heavily linked with a transfer to Chelsea, but perhaps she might make a surprise move to her old club in North London instead.
The 19-year-old James was a key player for the Red Devils this season, despite her young age. Her impressive performances even earned her an England call-up in November.
James is known for her ability to drive at defences, creating goal scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates. While this will replace Roord’s attacking threat, James will unlikely be unable to replicate her defensive abilities.
According to Tom Garry of The Telegraph, Arsenal are honing in on the signing of Aston Villa’s Mana Iwabuchi. The forward signed with Villa in December, and was an integral player in the club’s battle for WSL survival.
The 28-year-old is an experienced international, having won the World Cup with Japan in 2011. She would also slot straight into Arsenal’s starting line-up, having previously played with the likes of Vivianne Miedema and Lisa Evans at Bayern Munich.
Arsenal have long been an admirer of Iwabuchi and have previously tried to sign the star.
Arsenal could also be in the market for another Japanese star. Saki Kumagai recently announced she would be leaving Olympique Lyonnais at the end of this season, and the midfielder would be a like-for-like replacement for Roord at Arsenal.
Kumagai, another member of Japan’s World Cup-winning team in 2011, also has Champions League pedigree. She won the competition an astonishing five times with Lyon. This experience could be crucial to Arsenal’s Champions League hopes next season.
West Ham’s Kenza Dali has been one of the names thrown around on social media as a possible replacement for Roord.
The French midfielder has enjoyed stints at PSG, Lyon and Lille, before settling in the WSL with West Ham in 2019. Since then, her performances have seen her earn call-ups to the national team. She appeared for France against England and the United States last month.
Dali has the versatility to fit in well to the current Arsenal side – she can play on the wing and in the number 10 position, although she does not boast Roord’s defensive ability.
Who would you like to see replace Jill Roord at Arsenal?