Mariona Caldentey: How will she improve Arsenal?

  • The 28-year-old is ready for a "new challenge"
  • She has spent the last decade at Barcelona
  • Caldentey scored 114 goals in her 302 appearances
Great signing
Great signing / Pedro Salado/GettyImages

You could argue that Mariona Caldentey is the full package. She knows how to handle intense pressure, she has extensive experience playing in some of the toughest competitions, and above all else, she has the ability to deliver in crucial moments. 

That’s why she is an A+ signing for Arsenal. She’s spent the last ten years developing her skill set on arguably one the world’s biggest stages - something not many are lucky enough to have the opportunity to do. During her time with Barcelona, Caldentey has secured six Liga F titles, three UEFA Women’s Champions Leagues, six Spanish Cups, four Spanish Super Cups, and six Catalan Cups. 

She's donned the red and blue striped shirt over 302 times, scoring 114 goals in the process, seeing her become the fifth all-time top scorer in the club's history. There is no doubt that with that repertoire alone, they’ll be plenty of defenders in the Women’s Super League quaking in their boots at the mere thought of coming face to face with her next season. 

Upon announcing her arrival at Arsenal, the 28-year-old revealed she is ready for a “new challenge”, which is understandable after spending over a decade at just one club. Considering all the interest she had, I think Arsenal was the right decision for her, both on and off the pitch. 

The club has experienced immense growth over the last year, boasting a handful of sell-out stadium crowds, seeing them set new WSL attendance records. The continued growth led to them announcing earlier this year that they would permanently be moving to the Emirates next season to play all their home fixtures. Not only is this a huge step forward for the entire women’s game, but it also makes the club look even more attractive to prospective players who want to play in front of bigger crowds, and gain more exposure. 

Caldentey has even admitted herself that the club’s growth played a role in her selection process, when explaining: “I think what Arsenal are doing as a club is amazing - on and off the pitch. I love the way we want to play as a team, and I think there’s a strong mentality building here.”

When it comes to on the pitch, the Spain international is certainly moving to north London at a vital time, following the departure of Vivianne Miedema. Many were left in disbelief at the club’s decision to let their top goal scorer go on a free transfer, but if anyone is going to fill the gaping hole she’s left behind, it’s Caldentey. 

Her ability to play as a forward and an attacking midfielder will help give Arsenal tactical flexibility that at times they’ve lacked. The player is ruthless, dynamic and has the tenacity to break down some of the strongest backlines. 

She also has a proven track record of assists, too - something new team mates Beth Mead, Alessia Russo and Stina Blackstenius will no doubt reap the rewards of. 

I’ve got a sneaky feeling that Caldentey is going to be one of those signings that slot into the squad so easily, that it’ll quickly feel like she’s been there all along. Arsenal finished the 2023/24 season in third place, five points behind Manchester City and champions Chelsea, who clinched the title on goal difference. 

All eyes will certainly be on manager Jonas Eidevall in September, to see how he intends to put the club’s new signings to use, and ultimately be the frontrunners in the title race.