Catley ‘cannot wait’ to start with Arsenal Women

Australia's Steph Catley battles for the ball with England's Lucy Staniforth during an international

Australia's Steph Catley battles for the ball with England's Lucy Staniforth during an international friendly at Craven Cottage - Credit: PA

New Arsenal signing Steph Catley says she was looking forward to her move to north London ‘for quite some time’.

The Australian international was announced as the club’s first summer signing on Thursday morning and told “I’ve been talking to Joe (Montemurro) for a while and he’s tried to get me over a few times.

“But I’ve been in contract with my American clubs and it hasn’t quite been the right time, so just recently it was obviously the right time for me and luckily he was still interested and wanted me to come over.

“So, it’s just the excitement that everything has finally worked out with the right timing. I’m coming to one of the best clubs in the world.

“It’s something that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time and it’s a place I’ve imagined myself playing for a long time too, so I’m so excited that it’s finally done and to get started.”

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Catley went on to reveal that she has watched the Gunners in action with a lot of interest in recent years, adding: “For a long time I’ve watched the team and their success, but for me, the specific way they play and keep the ball, it’s an attacking brand of football and when you watch their games they’re always exciting.

“They’re a fun team to watch and that drew me in initially, and obviously I’ve worked with Joe before, so I know how he likes to play football and that was a big thing for me too.”

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Catley also went on to talk about linking up with her former manager, having worked with Montemurro previously at Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City.

She added: “For me, Joe’s just very good at player managing, so he really understands an individual for what they bring to a team, but also what their life is off the field and he really likes to harness that and get the most out of the person, as well as the player.

“I’ve always appreciated that about him and obviously I love his playing philosophy. It’s possession-based attacking football, so I’m really excited to work with him again.

“He told me a lot about the inner workings of the club and their philosophies, and obviously as I’ve said, I’m aware of how his teams like to play, so it didn’t take much to get me over the line.

“It was more of a timing thing, so based on the way they play and I’ve heard so many amazing things about the club as a whole, and it sounds like a club that’s really equal with their men and women’s team, it’s got everything that I’m looking for in a football club. I’m excited to come over.”

Catley will link up with Australian teammate Caitlin Foord at Arsenal and has also played with Kim Little and Jennifer Beattie at Melbourne City.

Speaking of Foord’s involvement in the deal, the full-back said: ”Caitlin has been sliding into my direct messages on social media for a little bit saying ‘Any updates? What’s going on? What’s the word?’ so she was excited when I told her that it’s finally done and she’s basically just been really helpful in starting to set up life over there in London.

“I’ve heard there is a few other Aussies that work in the group and in the staff too, so that’s exciting. The team is absolutely stacked, but I’ve played with Kim Little before and she’s just one of the best in the world.

“I really enjoyed my time playing with her when I was a lot younger, so I’m excited to see where she’s at now and combine with her. Also, I’ve played with Jen Beattie before and she’s just world class. She’s one of my favourite centre-backs to play alongside, so I’m really excited to play with her again.

“This will be my first taste of European football and there’s so much to look forward to and so many big occasions to come, so I can’t wait to get started.”

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