Arsenal Women have made their second signing of the summer, confirming the arrival of Nikita Parris on a long-term deal. Parris joins from Lyon for a fee of €80,000, where she scored 27 league and Champions League goals in 47 games—34 of which were starts.
Parris, 27, is the third highest goal scorer in the history of the WSL, behind her England teammate Ellen White and her new Arsenal teammate Vivianne Miedema, having played with Everton and then Manchester City in the WSL. In her last season at Manchester City, in 2018-19, Parris scored 19 goals and had 7 assists.
Arsenal have had apparent interest in Parris for some time. In May, the Guardian reported that Arsenal and Lyon were engaged in talks that would see Miedema join Lyon with Parris heading the other way. However, there was never any further suggestion that Miedema was leaving the club, and both Miedema and her agent have said that, for now, the plan is for Miedema to remain at Arsenal, where she has a year left on her deal.
That report in May did say that Arsenal would want to sign Parris regardless of any swap deal. As I argued in May, signing Parris and retaining Miedema is a far stronger move. Parris offers sharp pace and movement in behind, and can play across the front three, having been used from the right side to great effect. Pace is an attribute that is perhaps absent from Arsenal’s attacking unit, and Parris combines that with intelligent movement and good finishing. If Parris were to start on the right, she would likely take the place of Beth Mead—who only scored 4 goals in the WSL last year. While Mead had 8 assists, to Parris’ 1 at Lyon, Parris is the better goal-scorer and it gives new manager Jonas Eidevall a deeper squad, something he has spoken of being a necessity.
Parris is on Team GB duty for the Olympics, along with Kim Little, Leah Williamson, and Lotte Wubben-Moy, who will become part of the main squad of players as the IOC adjusts the alternate rule.
Speaking to Arsenal.com, Parris said, “I’m very happy to be here, Arsenal has an unbelievable history and I want to be a part of this. I want to achieve all domestic titles and compete in the Champions League here. I’m happy to be back in the WSL which has grown and improved so much since I left.”
New head coach Jonas Eidevall said, “I’m very pleased to have signed Nikita and add to our strong strike force. She is a talented player and has a winners mentality and I’m looking froward to working with her once she returns from the Olympics.”