Arsenal target Debinha in profile and what she can bring to title contenders

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Debinha is a transfer target for Arsenal after leaving North Carolina Courage (Image: 2022 Getty Images)
Debinha is a transfer target for Arsenal after leaving North Carolina Courage (Image: 2022 Getty Images)

Brazilian star Debinha is thought to be a major transfer target for Arsenal as the January transfer window opens.

The 31-year-old continues to be linked with a move to north London after confirming last month that she would not be returning to National Women's Soccer League side North Carolina Courage, her home since 2017, in the new year. With manager Jonas Eidevall keen to strengthen his attack after losing Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema to lengthy ACL injuries, a move for the forward makes sense.

However, Arsenal can expect fierce competition to land the Brazilian, with other top clubs across Europe also thought to be keen on making a move. In addition, NWSL clubs who Debinha has competed against for the last five years can also approach her.

Not only would Debinha be confident of scoring enough goals to cover for Mead and Miedema, she would also bring some valuable experience to a dressing room that has seen a number of senior players suffer with injury this season. In her native Brazil, she is a national legend, having scored 57 goals in 129 caps since her senior debut in 2011, helping her national side to two Copa America Femenina titles.

But at club level, she has only briefly played in Europe once before and that was over seven years ago. So, what might Debinha bring not only to Arsenal, but to the Women's Super League?

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Ruthless finishing

Although Debinha is more of a No.10 than a pure, out-and-out striker, ruthless finishing is a hallmark of her game. Her record in front of goal for club and country speaks for itself, with the Brazilian scoring 42 goals in 115 appearances for the Courage since making the move stateside.

Her hat-trick goal in a 3-0 win over NJ/NY Gotham FC towards the end of the season was a classic example of her ability to stay ice-cool when presented with a decent opportunity. Running in-behind the Gotham FC defence, she waited for the goalkeeper to make her move before dinking the ball nicely over the top and into the net.

Although she isn't always leading the line through the centre, Debinha never panics in front of goal, timing her runs and finishes to perfection. This trait is shared with Miedema, meaning she may be the ideal person to fill the void left by Arsenal's Dutch star.

Top-class experience

Not only has Debinha helped Brazil to international titles, she has also played club football across the globe, albeit without yet testing herself in the WSL. The samba star started her club career in Brazil with Foz Cataratas and Centro Olimpico but once she became a key part of her national side, interest from overseas quickly intensified.

Debinha first left Brazil to join Norwegian side Avaldsnes and proved her ability in Europe, finishing as the league's highest goalscorer in the 2014 season. She subsequently spent a year in China with Dalian Quanjian in their own Super League.

After moving to USA and joining the Courage, the Brasopolis native quickly became their most important player, scoring four goals and appearing in every game of the 2017 regular season. Trophies would soon follow; Debinha twice won the NWSL Championship title during her stateside spell and helped North Carolina to the Challenge Cup last term.

She has consistently proven over a decade that she can be a standout performer in any country across the globe. The WSL may be one of the best leagues in the world, but it won't faze Debinha in the slightest.

Arsenal target Debinha in profile and what she can bring to title contendersDebinha always seems to produce the goods on the biggest stage (Getty Images / 2022 Andy Mead / ISI Photos)

A player who loves the big occasion

Anyone who plays for Brazil over 100 times you probably don't expect to be the shy, retiring type. That said, you still can't help but be impressed with Debinha's knack for turning up on the biggest stage.

She was named in the 2022 NWSL Best XI and won the tournament MVP award for the Challenge Cup, which North Carolina lifted after a 2-1 win over Washington Spirit. She scored 12 goals over the course of the season, but interestingly seven of those came in the final six games games, right at the business end of the campaign.

She is a household name across North America because she never let Courage down when they needed a goal, always wanting the ball and influence proceedings. That is why she will be in high demand right up until she confirms who she will sign for.

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If Arsenal do get the signature of a player widely believed to be their number one target, Eidevall won't have any concerns about her being able to handle a London derby with Chelsea or a top-of-the-table clash with Manchester United. Debinha lives for the big games.

And like all of the world's top players, she will be desperate to ensure she is in peak form for the 2023 Women's World Cup in the summer.

Star quality

Debinha's arrival would not only be huge for the Gunners, it would be a statement for the league as a whole. Her signing wouldn't be far behind when Sam Kerr joined Chelsea, Alex Morgan signed for Tottenham or when Miedema first arrived at Arsenal.

She may not have the exact same profile of those players, but there aren't many clubs in the world who wouldn't take Debinha without having to pay a transfer fee. Who knows, her potential arrival in north London could well tip the balance of the title back their way.

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Jack Lacey-Hatton

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation