Arsenal have made their third January signing in the form of Brazilian centre-back Rafaelle Souza.
The 30-year-old defender joins the Gunners following the expiry of her previous deal at Chinese club Changchun Zhuoyue.
Rafaelle has also played for Houston Dash in the USA, but Arsenal will be her first European club and she will also be Arsenal Women’s first Brazilian player.
Rafaelle has also made 33 appearances for the Brazil national team to date, scoring five goals. She was part of the Brazilian squads that won the 2018 edition of the Copa America and finished second at the 2021 SheBelieves Cup.
[blockquote text=”Rafaelle fills the void left by Anna Patten who’s gone out on loan to Aston Villa, and the Brazilian international is set to nail down a first-team place alongside Leah Williamson. ” show_quote_icon=”yes” text_color=”#dd3333″]
Rafaelle told Arsenal.com “I’m so excited. I feel great to be here and to be playing in such a strong and competitive league. I feel like when I decided to come here, I was looking for a club where I can show my football, and my skills and be in the centre of the world. That’s my challenge, to show my football to the world.”
Jonas Eidevall went on to explain “We’re delighted to be able to welcome Rafaelle to the club,her international experience, technical ability and leadership qualities make her an important signing for us – I’m looking forward to working with her and I’m sure the Arsenal fans are excited to see her in action.”
Head of women’s football Clare Wheatley added “The signing of Rafaelle represents another significant addition to our squad, Rafaelle has proven international pedigree and we are sure that she will make a valuable contribution both this season and moving forward.”
Rafaelle will be available for selection for Arsenal once she has received the necessary international clearance. She joins Stina Blackstenius and Laura Wienroither in arriving in north London this month.