Australian international Catley linked with Arsenal Women

England Women's Beth Mead and Australia Women's Steph Catley (right) battle for the ball during a fr

England Women's Beth Mead and Australia Women's Steph Catley (right) battle for the ball during a friendly at Craven Cottage in 2018 - Credit: PA

Australian full-back Steph Catley has been linked with a move to Arsenal Women after leaving parent club OL Reign.

Catley announced she was leaving the NWSL club on Wednesday evening, releasing a statement on her social media which said: “It is with a heavy heart that I announce my departure from OL Reign.

“In saying that, my heart is full from the memories I have made over the past 2-3 years in Seattle and Tacoma.

“I am beyond thankful for the entire organisation, but in particular Bill and Teresa Predmore who have cared for and moulded the club into the family that it is today.

“Every day I spent as an OL Reign player, I felt supported and cared for as a footballer but more importantly as a person. Most significantly, I will never forget the support that the club showed me when I went through the toughest period of my life in 2018 with the passing of my father.

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“They stood by me through every step with patience and understanding, and made returning to America feel like I was coming home to a second family. I’ve been challenged and grown as a player and a person, I’ve had fun, and made memories and lifelong friendships that I will always cherish.”

Catley started and played 33 matches for OL Reign, including the 2018 and 2019 NWSL semi-finals. She also recorded five assists in 2,949 minutes of play across all competitions.

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The full-back is a reported target for Arsenal Women who, with Joe Montemurro at the helm and January signing Caitlin Foord on board, have an Australian connection at the club.

Catley played under Montemurro at Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City so knows the Gunners boss well and his style of management.

“As an athlete you’re always trying to push yourself to be better. I’ve been in the NWSL for the past seven years and the league has made me the player I am today,” she added.

“However, I believe now is the right time to move onto the next chapter and challenge myself in a different environment. No matter where I am or who I’m playing for, I will always be OL Reign’s biggest supporter.”

OL Reign chief executive Bill Predmore added: “It is difficult to see Steph depart, given all she has meant to this club over the past two seasons. She is a fantastic talent and individual.

“While we are all disappointed to see her go, we understand and are supportive of her move. Should the opportunity ever arise, we would gladly welcome her back to the club in the future.”

The Australian international told the Herald Sun in February that she was looking for a move to European football, saying: “I’ll more than likely be in Europe the next transfer window. I haven’t signed anything, just been talking. England’s where I’m looking.”

However, in her latest statement Catley did not specify if England was her likely destination, or if the W-League veteran would be back with Melbourne City FC for the 2020-21 season.

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