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Arsenal Women sign Australia striker Caitlin Foord

Caitlin Foord as expected signs for Arsenal, becoming the fourth Matilda in the WSL.

Australia v Brazil: Group C - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Caitlin Foord has signed for Arsenal Women, joining from Sydney FC. Foord becomes the fourth Australian to move to the WSL this winter, following Sam Kerr and Hayley Raso, who signed for Chelsea and Everton respectively, and Chloe Logarzo, who joined Bristol City. Foord spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons in the NWSL, with Portland Thorns, and has played for Sky Blue, as well as other Australian clubs.

Foord is an all-round attacking player, who offers versatility and physicality. For Sydney and Australia, she primarily plays a wider attacking role, unlocking some of her playmaking abilities. At international level, she has struck up a good partnership with Kerr as a left-sided forward or second striker. Foord has also played as a fullback, and given Joe Montemurro’s propensity to playing attacking players at fullback, one could see Foord dropping into that role, especially as she has the physical capabilities to do so.

In many ways, Foord’s signing is connected with the retirement of Tabea Kemme, who was similarly versatile. But Foord does offer significance in her ability to back-up Vivianne Miedema. Realistically, Arsenal were never going to be able to sign a player to purely back-up Miedema, but Foord offers what Beth Mead and other fill-ins do not offer, which is genuine centre-forward play.

During her time at Portland, Foord’s best moments came from linking up with the likes of Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, and Christine Sinclair. While her goal-scoring record wasn’t the best, she had value from being able to create space for attacking midfielders, dropping off from defences, and linking up with players making runs. After the World Cup, with the form of those players in various levels of quality, Foord’s own productivity dropped, and she found herself out of the starting XI, and her NWSL rights were traded by the Thorns with Emily Sonnett for the #1 draft pick.

Indeed, that ability to link up well with attacking players stands Foord in good stead, given the dual #8 roles played by Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little and Jill Roord, and the ability of Arsenal’s wide players, especially Danielle van de Donk, to get into good scoring positions. Beyond that, though, Foord’s physicality can see her compete for a starting wide role at Arsenal, and her versatility should see her utilized in a variety of roles by manager Joe Montemurro.

Foord will join Arsenal following the conclusion of Australia’s Olympic qualifying games, which take place from February 3 to February 9.