Russo: "I'm really excited for a new challenge"

After a long wait, Alessia Russo is officially a Gunner and our new number 23. 

In her first interview since signing with our club, England international Russo shares her trophy ambitions, her bond with her fellow Lionesses, and how excited she is to get started after the World Cup,

Here is everything she had to say:

Alessia, we're so glad to finally welcome you to The Arsenal. How does it feel to make everything official? 

Yeah, it's so exciting. Today's been amazing, meeting everyone, and settling in and I'm really excited to be here now. I can't wait to get going.

This has no doubt been a big decision for you to make. So what is it about the project that we're building here that really made you want to be a part of it? 

I think you can see it from last season and even the history that the club's got, to go on and win trophies and perform and yeah. Time for a new challenge.

I'm really excited to get going, get into Champions League and into the league next season. And yeah, just the fight from the team and everything that they had thrown against them last season, I think they did amazing. I can't wait to be a part of it.

Alessia Russo signs her new contract in the Emirates Stadium Directors' Box

From the outside looking in, when you see us hosting numerous games at Emirates Stadium, the sold-out crowds, those big events - what does that tell you about the ambition and vision for us as a club? 

Yeah, it's massive. I think the growth of the women's game has been incredible but particularly at a club like Arsenal. The sell-out against Wolfsburg was incredible and yeah, the fan base is something that's a huge part of this club and something that I'm really, really excited to be a part of as well.

For you personally, three years of playing in the WSL. You've proven yourself to be one of the league's most clinical forwards. But what do you think now is needed to take your game to that next level? 

Yeah, I think lots more to come, hopefully. I want to keep pushing myself as a player, learning from and competing with other top players too which I'm really excited for. I want to score more goals, assist more goals and just add to the team in as many ways as I can.

Playing in the Champions League was probably a big part of your decision as well there. How much are you looking forward to testing yourself against Europe's elite?

I can't wait. I think Champions League is something that you always want to play in as a young kid. So yeah, so excited for those games to start rolling around, get stuck in there and hopefully have a really successful season.

Under our head coach Jonas, we've really gained a reputation as this hard-working team, both in and out of possession. What has he said to you about the way he can see you fitting into this team?

Yeah, it is exactly that. I think that I've had some great conversations with him. He wants me to score more goals, as I do too. And just help, work for the team, create and get into more threatening positions as a nine as well.

So yeah, I'm excited to push on and obviously learn how other players around me play too. And just get involved and get in amongst it.

Alessia Russo facetimes with manager Jonas Eidevall

It would be safe to say that this isn't the world's best-kept secret. Is it nice for you to just get this out there and for the world to know?

Yeah, it's been really nice and coming in today has made me even more excited for it. Yeah, it's really nice to kind of have your sights set now and know what's coming up and get really focused obviously on the World Cup coming up. But then know that you're coming back to Arsenal. Ready for a big year.

Assuming in the build-up to this move, you've had a chance to chat with a few of your future teammates. Who have you been chatting with to find out a little bit more?

Yeah, I've been chatting to a few but in particular, Lotte and Beth and Leah - the England girls. Lotte and I went to uni together so we've got a really good relationship, which is nice.

She was a shoulder to lean on when I was out in college and when you need advice, you go to those kinds of people that you know have got your back and vice versa. So yeah, I can't wait to be playing with all of them.

What kind of memories have you and Lotte got from back then as well? Because I imagine that was a really important time in your career as a player and as a person? 

Yeah, it was. I always say that Lotte is my big sister. She's got a very wise head on her shoulders and someone that I probably wouldn't have got through college without.

She's amazing. A leader on and off the pitch and someone that I can't wait to be with every day and create more memories with.

Before you officially join us, you've got the World Cup this summer. Your first with England. How much are you looking forward to the challenge? 

Can't wait. Obviously, we had the Euros last summer, but a World Cup is the next step up. So yeah, it's starting to feel a bit real now.

Obviously, we go soon, and the tournament will come around really quickly, but I can't wait to go out and compete against the world's best on the biggest stage. So yeah, hopefully, it'll be a good tournament.

For you now, when you think about the year ahead at Arsenal and what you'd really like to achieve, what would you consider to be a successful season?

I want to win trophies, as does everyone in this club. So, I can't wait to get stuck in with that and just grow as a player.

It's a new challenge, a new environment. Meet new people, make new friends but yeah, hopefully get some silverware, too.

Just finally Alessia, it's going to be a little while until you make your debut. So just until then, what is your message to our supporters over the summer?

I can't wait to come and play in front of you. I hope you enjoy watching us this summer but can't wait to see you at the Emirates and Borehamwood soon.

Alessia Russo sits in the stands of Emirates Stadium

To hear more from our latest signing, click play on the video above.

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