Gut reveals Walti influence in Arsenal move

Lia Walti during the FA Women's Super League match at Meadow Park, London

Lia Walti during the FA Women's Super League match at Meadow Park, London - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

New Arsenal signing Malin Gut says it ‘feels amazing’ to sign for the club and revealed how Lia Walti played a role in her move.

The young Swiss international was confirmed as a new Gunners player on Friday and the 19-year-old said: “It feels amazing, to be honest.

“It’s a very big honour for me to be able to play and represent this club in the future, and I’m very much looking forward to joining the club as soon as possible.

“Just from the beginning it felt like everything fitted perfectly. I talked to Joe (Montemurro) a lot which helped because he was really able to convince me from the first second and I felt that he’s the kind of coach I really want to play with.

“I visited the club in January and I saw everything there, the whole training facilities and everything, and coming from Switzerland and seeing these huge facilities was just amazing. It was very hard to say no – that convinced me from the first second.“

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Gut, who has won eight senior caps, also spoke of how Wälti convinced her to move to north London, adding: “I talked to Lia a lot and she helped to convince me to join Arsenal.

“Everything she told me was just great. She said that she’s a big fan of Joe, his training, the whole team and the atmosphere, so pretty much everything she told me was positive.

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“That helped a lot and I think also for me during the beginning at Arsenal, it will help me a lot to have someone that I know. I think that will help me a lot.

“It’s all been quite difficult because of the whole coronavirus situation and we haven’t played for quite a long time, so I’m going to be very, very excited to play with the Arsenal shirt for the first time. I’m very glad to be wearing it now for my interview, but it will feel so much better on the pitch, I’m sure.”

Joe Montemurro then went onto explain how Gut will fit into his system, saying: “With the position that she plays and the way that we play, she’s very much a ball-playing holding midfielder and a player that wants to get involved very, very quickly in the build-up,

“At times we do play with two number sixes, whether that’s with a back three or a back four, and with Lia Walti, her partner in the national team, I thought it was a very good balance and a very good combination that would fit in quite well with the way that we want to play.

“Obviously that then gives us the opportunity from a fluidity perspective to play her as a centre back too, whether that’s in a back three or a four. She’s great on the ball, always proactive, always looking to pass forward and as I’ve said, suits our style to a tee.

“I’m extremely happy. She’s a player that I noticed about a year ago now in the Swiss national team that is very, very mature for her age and has already had a bit of Champions League experience. She’s someone that I think is really going to flourish in our environment around the players that she’s going to be around. She’s a very exciting prospect for the club.”

Arsenal weren’t the only club interested in securing the services of Gut and when asked about fending teams off to secure her signature the Australian added: “Obviously with the position that she plays and the way that we play, she’s very much a ball-playing holding midfielder and a player that wants to get involved very, very quickly in the build-up.

“I think the style of play was very important to her because she wanted to understand the way that we do things and I think it was really noticeable from that conversation that there was real synergy.

“Second of all, her ability to take the next step with all the other things involved in being a professional footballer, from the sports science and strength and conditioning, to the analysis and the full-time professionalism that we can offer her.

“It was exciting from that perspective and from the first day that I met her I could tell that she’s of an Arsenal character. She’s very humble and a great character to have amongst the group.”

Montemurro also revealed he spoke to Wälti about Gut as he said: “You speak to a lot of people along the way and Walti was one I had a good chat with about Malin and her character. It was really important also that Malin finished her last year of school in Switzerland too.

“We wanted to make sure that she came knowing that she’s got all the situations in place to start her professional career at Arsenal and we believe that she’s going to be a player who will reach really big heights at the club.”

The Arsenal boss also revealed that he is looking forward to returning to training as he said: “ I even miss the smell of the grass! I’ve been missing the day-to-day tasks, being on the park and doing what I love best, and that’s solving problems with football.

“I think it’s going to be really exciting. I think the fact we’ve been away from the game for a while, a lot of people have found, whether that’s fans or us in the staff and players, a real love for the game again.

“We’ve missed it and I really believe that the next year is only going to be bigger and better. The football is going to be absolutely fantastic.”

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