Ireland's Swedish nemesis Stina Blackstenius joins Arsenal

Blackstenius scored the goal when Sweden beat Vera Pauw's Ireland 1-0 in Tallaght last October.
Ireland's Swedish nemesis Stina Blackstenius joins Arsenal

21 October 2021; Stina Blackstenius of Sweden in action against Katie McCabe of Republic of Ireland during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 qualifier group A match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Arsenal have announced the signing of Sweden striker Stina Blackstenius. The 25-year-old joins the Gunners after leaving BK Hacken following the expiry of her contract with the Gothenburg-based outfit.

Blackstenius, who scored 17 goals in 21 league games during the 2021 season, has helped Sweden claim silver medals at the 2016 and 2020 Olympics and finish third at the 2019 World Cup.

She scored the goal when Sweden beat Vera Pauw's Ireland 1-0 in Tallaght last October. She now links up with Ireland captain Katie McCabe at the Gunners.

"It feels amazing to be here, I'm so happy to join such a big and great club like Arsenal," she told the club's website. 

"I got a really good first impression about this club, they play really good football and I wanted to be a part of that. I feel like I can become a better player in this environment."

Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall, Blackstenius' compatriot, added: "I think a standout for Stina is her ability to score goals in really big games.

"She's an excellent player running in behind when she is exposed to a lot of space. If we look for example at the games we played against Barcelona this autumn (4-1 and 4-0 defeats), I think we really missed that quality in the squad, to punish teams that are playing with such a high defending line. So she will be helping us with that."

Eidevall was asked if there was a way the Women's Super League's all-time leading scorer Vivianne Miedema, whose current Arsenal deal runs out this summer, and Blackstenius could play together, and he said: "I hope there is - that's definitely one of the scenarios I'm seeing."

He then added: "For me, the arrival of Stina has nothing to do about the future for Viv. To sign Stina and make her an addition to the squad, I think it's the right way to go, in any of the scenarios - with her staying, which we hope she will, or if she's not staying. Then we will need to find a replacement for her and for that type of player."

Eidevall said he was not in a position to comment on Arsenal being linked with Brazil defender Rafaelle or any other potential incomings, but did say: "We're not done yet in this window."

The Gunners boss was speaking ahead of WSL leaders Arsenal hosting Reading on Sunday - a match that could see England defender Leah Williamson and United States winger Tobin Heath back involved after injuries that have sidelined them since November.

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