Arsenal re-signed veteran former England striker Jodie Taylor on a short-term contract in an attempt to boost their squad depth in the final stages of the season.
The Gunners have been hit hard by long-term injuries to Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema, who scored 37 goals between them in all competitions last season. Neither will play again this season and manager Jonas Eidevall was determined to land an extra forward in January.
Arsenal submitted two world record bids for Manchester United star Alessia Russo, the second thought to reach the £500,000 mark, but were knocked back twice. There was an element of last minute desperation to the saga, especially with Russo potentially a free agent in summer.
Arsenal started 2023 in disappointing fashion, failing to win any of their first three WSL games of the calendar year and scoring only twice across those fixtures against Chelsea, West Ham and Manchester City to leave them adrift in the top three race.
They also exited the FA Cup to Chelsea but managed to beat the same opponent in the Conti Cup final a week later to lift a first trophy in four years.
Primary ‘number nine’ Stina Blackstenius was unwell ahead of last weekend’s WSL game against Reading, which saw versatile midfielder Frida Maanum pushed further forward. The Norwegian excelled, but it is not an ideal solution.
Outside of a transfer window, Arsenal’s options were obviously limited.
Taylor, who turns 37 before the end of the season, was out of contract with San Diego Wave after joining the NWSL club ahead of their 2022 campaign. She joined Lyon on a short-term deal in the autumn of 2020 but has played extensively in the United States and Australia over the last 10 years.
Top scorer at Euro 2017 and a member of England’s World Cup squad in 2019, Taylor last played for Arsenal in 2016 and 2017 and had a decent goal return at that time. Five years further on and very much coming towards the end of her career, things are quite different now. But the Gunners are at least hoping a familiar face with enormous experience will be a boost.
“We’re really pleased to have brought in Jodie to help us from now until the end of the season. She has a proven track record for scoring goals and we know her experience will be a great asset to the whole dressing room,” Eidevall said.
“We have so much to fight for this season and Jodie will help us on that journey.”
Arsenal head of women’s football Clare Wheatley echoed similar sentiment: “Jodie is a really experienced and talented player and will give us added competition at this crucial stage of the season.”
The Gunners are still fighting on two fronts, with the first leg of a Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich to come on Tuesday, and all to play for in the WSL where they continue to play catch-up on the current top three – although with a game in hand that could close the gap.