Arsenal women announced the signing of World Cup Champion Laia Codina from Barcelona. The 23-year old centerback started all four knockout round matches for Spain and scored against Switzerland in the Round of 16. She leaves the Catalan side in search of more regular playing time, having only managed 32 appearances over three seasons on a talented, deep roster at Barca, playing time which she will certainly find at Arsenal.
Said Jonas Eidevall: “Laia is a world-class defender and I’m delighted to be working with her here at Arsenal. She has a great mix of technical ability and physical presence and we believe this will allow her to adapt to our style here quickly. She has considerable experience of playing at the highest level and winning trophies, so I’m confident that she will be an excellent addition to our squad moving forward.”
Clare Wheatley, head of women’s football, added: “We are very pleased to have confirmed the signing of Laia on a permanent transfer. We believe Laia is a top player with plenty of potential to continue to develop and progress here with us at Arsenal. Her experience of competing on the biggest stages – as we saw at the World Cup this summer – will be invaluable as we look to achieve our objectives this season.”
Codina joins Amanda Ilestedt as additions to the centerback suite at Arsenal. The Gunners needed reinforcements in the middle of the defense with Leah Williamson not due back from her ACL tear until a few months into the season. Lotte Wubben-Moy and Jenn Beattie deputized well enough down the stretch last season, but Arsenal couldn’t go into a new season with only two fit, true centerbacks on the roster.