After a year and a half at the club, it appears that Brazilian defender Rafaelle Souza will be departing from Arsenal Women this summer.
In January 2022, the esteemed football club Arsenal welcomed a new addition to their ranks in the form of a 31-year-old player who had previously played for the Chinese team Changchun Zhuoyue.
Since joining the team, she has been a consistent and valued member of Arsenal’s defensive lineup. With 21 appearances in the Women’s Super League (WSL) under her belt, she has proven to be an integral part of Arsenal’s journey to the semi-finals of the Women’s Champions League this season.
Since her arrival last year, Rafaelle’s partnership with Leah Williamson in central defence has been instrumental to Arsenal’s progress. With a keen eye for detail, head coach Jonas Eidevall scouted for a left-footed center-back to bolster the team’s defence. In Rafaelle, he found a player who fit the bill perfectly and performed the role with great skill and poise.
In addition, she made significant strides in the attacking zone, netting pivotal goals during the Conti Cup final triumph and the initial leg of the Champions League semi-final against Wolfsburg. With her decisive goal against Chelsea in the Conti Cup final, she played a pivotal role in Arsenal’s triumphant return to the winner’s circle after a two-year drought.
With the final day of the season fast approaching, Arsenal finds itself in a favourable position to secure the last Champions League spot in the WSL. Unless there is a remarkable goal difference swing in favour of Manchester City, Arsenal is poised to clinch the coveted spot.
According to recent reports, it is speculated that Rafaelle may soon be making her way to the United States, with the Orlando Pride being a possible landing spot. The Pride possess a noteworthy sum of unutilized allocation funds, which may serve as a catalyst for the relocation. Despite their initial focus on Rafaelle’s Brazilian compatriot Debinha, the Pride ultimately failed to secure her signature, as she opted to join the Kansas City Current instead.
On the upcoming Saturday, Arsenal are slated to play their final match of the season against Aston Villa.
The departure of Rafaelle Souza from the club signifies the conclusion of her tenure. Her invaluable contributions to the team’s defensive stability and offensive prowess will be forever etched in the memories of fans and teammates alike.