Another Australian has signed with an FAWSL club. This time it was Emily Gielnik who made the shock move to Aston Villa on the last day of the singing window. It could prove a brilliant signing for both club and player.
Emily Gielnik looked seemingly settled at Vittsjkö GIK. A two-year regular starter with the Damallsvenskan club, one that saw her find the back of the net thirteen times and return to the W-League in the offseason, her departure for the English league on the last day of their signing window was somewhat of a surprise.
The move should be a good one though. Villa finished 10th in the standings last season, three points above the relegation point. As a newly promoted team having to make the transition to the full-time professional league this was somewhat unsurprising.
Their second season in the FAWSL should bode to be a more promising one. The hiring of cross-town rival head coach Carla Ward will buoy the team who struggled with managerial changes in their first WSL season.
Ward is both respected and well proven in the English top flight. She is also the one responsible for bringing Gielnik to the club. Speaking of Gielnik's move Ward stated:
"Emily is someone we’ve monitored for a few months and I’m delighted we’ve managed to agree a deal that suits all parties. She’s a player with a wealth of domestic and international experience, and is a player that can score goals at the highest level. Emily’s link-up play and aerial threat is something that will cause teams problems. I’m pleased to finally get this one over the line.”
The move will be mutually beneficial for both Gielnik and Villa. For Gielnik's new club to increase their competitiveness in the FAWSL, they need extra offensive power from what they had last year. Gielnik will help provide that.
Prior to Gielnik's signing, Villa had already added Irish striker Ruesha Littlejohn and Swiss striker Alisha Lehmann up front. However, they had lost Japanese international Mana Iwabuchi to Arsenal.
Gielnik should be an excellent replacement for Iwabuchi, as she is a capable attacker with both creative potential and striking prowess. Her positional versatility in attack and years of experience could prove essential to Villa this season.
For Gielnik, the move to England will not only increase the competition she faces week in and week out prior the the 2023 World Cup, but will also give her a more suitable league to play in where she does not have to face the prospect of playing 12 months a year prior to Australia's most important ever competition.
A win-win for both Gielnik and Villa, this last minute addition will show the English league another great example of excellent Australian talent, this time wearing Claret and Blue.