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Former Tar Heel Alessia Russo signs for Arsenal

The England International will join fellow UNC alum Lotte Wubben-Moy for club and country.

Liverpool FC v Manchester United - Barclays Women’s Super League Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

Alessia Russo has signed for Arsenal on a free transfer.

The former Carolina star moves from Manchester United, where she led the Red Devils to a surprise second-place finish in the Barclays Women’s Super League (England’s top-tier women’s soccer division) and into the Champions League. She is considered one of England’s top forward prospects and will join the Lioness squad in this summer’s World Cup in Australia.

UNC fans will remember Russo from her three-year stint in Chapel Hill, where she scored 28 goals in 57 appearances. She partnered with fellow England international and now club teammate Lotte Wubben-Moy from 2017-2019. Both players left Carolina when Covid-19 broke the 2020 season into two pieces.

Last season, Arsenal lost two of their star forwards, Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema, both to torn ACLs. During the January 2023 transfer window, Arsenal tabled a world-record £500,000 bid to Manchester United for Russo, which was rejected. Now, the Reds will lose her to the Gunners on a free transfer.

Alessia Russo will fit into coach Jonas Eidevall’s attack immediately, as Arsenal need immediate replacements for Miedema and Mead, and depth to challenge league champions Chelsea for the domestic title, and Barcelona and Wolfsburg in the Champions League. With Russo’s added quality, Arsenal figure to become top challengers for any of the competitions they fight for next season.

In her three years at Manchester United, Russo scored 22 goals in 46 appearances. For the England senior team, she has scored 11 in 21 games, including this famous backheel in the 2022 Euros semi-final against Sweden:

And don’t forget this banger against NC State:

Alessia Russo is highly respected in the UK. Check out this compilation that famous Arsenal Twitter account @awfclips put together, dating back to her Carolina days: