Leah Williamson: Arsenal and England defender signs new Gunners deal

27 May 2024, 08:00 | Updated: 27 May 2024, 10:34

Arsenal and England defender Leah Williamson has signed a new deal with the Gunners.

Williamson initially joined the club 19 years ago, and has gone on to make 232 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 15 goals.

She is Arsenal's vice-captain alongside Kim Little, and has won the WSL title, four Conti Cups and two FA Cups with the Gunners.

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"Everyone knows what Arsenal means to me, but I think every time I sign a new contract, I feel that love ignite all over again," she told the club's official website.

"I'm very happy to be staying - this is a place where I can still continue to grow, develop and be challenged. As a group, we're all very focused on bringing more silverware to this club and I can't wait to get started again when the new season comes around."

Williamson returned from an ACL injury in February, having missed a large part of the 2023/24 campaign. The injury saw the England captain miss out on the 2023 Women's World Cup as the Lionesses finished as runners up.

She previously led her country to victory at Euro 2022, following up with the inaugural Women's Finalissima a few months later.

Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall added: "Leah is an essential part of our team so we're delighted she has signed a new contract with us. She brings us so much on and off the pitch - leadership, accountability and commitment.

"Leah has a special bond with Arsenal and I'm looking forward to continuing to work together to bring more success to this great club."

Director of women's football Clare Wheatley said: "Leah's connection with Arsenal runs so deep - I can remember her as a girl in our academy many years ago, and I'm so proud of the determined, passionate woman she has become.

"We're thrilled that Leah has signed a new deal here and I know our supporters will join me in congratulating her today."

Analysis: Williamson backed by Arsenal after difficult period

Sky Sports' Charlotte Marsh:

"Leah Williamson is Ms Arsenal. It's hard to imagine her ever playing for another club, and for the foreseeable future at least, she remains with her beloved Gunners.

"It's backing from the club after a difficult period for the defender after her ACL injury suffered in April 2023.

"It was a huge blow for Arsenal and England. Both teams had to adapt without their first-choice centre-back, while the Lionesses played at the World Cup without their captain.

"There have been setbacks since her return too - having to pull out of the February England camp due to injury - but there was success in the Conti Cup with Arsenal, in which Williamson started alongside Lotte Wubben-Moy.

"Her fellow England defender has shone in Arsenal's back line, stepping up in Williamson's absence. It's an exciting prospect to see them play alongside each other on a regular basis next season.

"And that is where the attention now lies - looking ahead to next year after an up and down 2023/24 campaign.

"Williamson follows Stina Blackstenius in penning a new deal, with Arsenal looking to commit their key players to new deals early in the summer.

"Questions will remain over any incomings to boost the squad though, especially with the departure of Vivianne Miedema. Arsenal finished five points behind Chelsea and Man City, and will need something to keep from falling too far behind.

"Who or what that may be remains to be seen, and the transfer window is a long one. But for now, Arsenal are making sure to keep hold of their current crop."