It seems as if Aston Villa Women’s recruitment has all but dried up for the summer, following a tweet from Eniola Aluko. Nevertheless, it’s been a good one.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa Women have seemingly concluded their summer recruitment following a tweet from Eniola Aluko a week or so back, in which she stated the last signing, Stine Larsen, was the last of the summer.
It has been a great window for the newly-minted Women’s Super League side, who have brought in International level players of varying ages, including the likes of Chloë Arthur from rivals Birmingham City Women, Anita Asante, Lisa Weiß, Caro Siems and Ramona Petzelberger, as well as the aforementioned Larsen, with a focus on seemingly both homegrown-based players and German talent.
The first through the door was Chloë Arthur, the Scotland international who made the jump across the city of Birmingham to join former team-mates Emma Follis, Shania Hayles and Marisa Ewers under Gemma Davies’ helm. The 25-year-old is a midfielder, labelled in the past by former coach Marc Skinner as having the ‘potential to be the best box-to-box midfielder in the country’, but on an International level Arthur has often appeared at fullback.
Following Arthur was the most experienced player of the entire window, veteran defender Anita Asante. Asante, now 35, who has appeared over 70 times for the England national side. With 18 trophies under her belt, Asante is keen to develop the legacy of the ever-improving Aston Villa Women, and balance some of the youthful temperament within the squad with her level-headed leadership.
Diana Silva, an exciting Portuguese forward was signed as the club look to replace the goals lost following Women’s Championship top scorer Mel Johnson’s release this summer. Silva signed from Sporting Club Portugal Femenino, who have picked up press attention over the past few years due to their high-scoring games. An exciting, pacy goalscorer, Silva seems like she will be a joy to watch next season.
Lisa Weiß was the next through the door, and was the second most experience player to have joined Gemma Davies’ Aston Villa revolution. Weiß joined from European Champions Olympique Lyonnais Femenin, and came to Aston Villa Women as a bit of a coup despite her lack of playing time at the club. The 32-year-old has experienced playing at the top level in both Germany and France and will now be able to test herself in the highest league in England – if she can take the number one shirt from Sian Rogers.
Another German player followed suit, with Caro Siems being the next signing unveiled as an Aston Villa Women player. The 21-year-old joins after aiding 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam to a fourth-placed finish in the Women’s Bundesliga. Able to play on either side of a defence, the fullback will provide ample cover for the likes of Asmita Ale and Ella Franklin-Fraiture, who both had to recover from injuries over the past season.
In fact, three of the last four signings were German, as Ramona Petzelberger followed Siems through the door on the same day. Close friends with Marisa Ewers from their time at Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Petzelberger, 27, signed as another experienced head who has spent her entire career in Germany. Looking for a new step in her career, Ramona will be looking to prove herself in the Women’s Super League with Aston Villa Women.
The final name through the door was Stine Larsen, the Danish International who offers wide versatility for Davies’ side as she can perform at both striker and centre-back. Named player of the season in the Elitedivisionen in 2018, and picking up a number of other accolades along the way, Larsen is a decorated player despite her young age at 24.
Seven names through the door, of varying levels of experience, age and International acclaim, to compliment the 13 senior players who were left following the summer cull. The side looks ready for a battle ahead, and a battle it will be as they fight to retain their place in the FA Women’s Super League at the first time of asking.