Arsenal’s back-line has taken another hit as pivotal centre-back Rafaelle Souza is set to depart the WSL club this summer.
The 31-year-old made a splash in the WSL, joining the Gunners in January 2022 after a stint in China with Changchun Zhuoyue.
The Brazil captain is linked to a move to the NWSL, likely making the change and heading to Orlando Pride after making 21 appearances for Arsenal in the WSL. She also played a major role in this season’s journey to the Champions League semi-finals.
It is understood that the move was not prompted by being unhappy at Arsenal. But Rafaelle will play her final game for the Gunners on Saturday at home against Aston Villa before bidding farewell.
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The centre of Arsenal’s defence is set to look very different at the start of next season. Jonas Eidevall’s preferred pairing in 2022/23 has been Rafaelle alongside Leah Williamson, but with the Brazilian heading elsewhere and the Lionesses skipper set to miss a major chunk of 2023/24 while recovering from an ACL injury, it will be a new partnership.
The changes could see Lotte Wubben-Moy step into a leading role. Arsenal also still have Anna Patten available to them, with the 24-year-old maturing into an impressive WSL defender during back-to-back loans at Aston Villa since January 2022.