Sport

Arsenal Women appoint Jonas Eidevall and vow to invest ‘much more than ever’

Arsenal Women have appointed Jonas Eidevall as manager and announced an overhaul that will bring increased investment, matches at the Emirates Stadium and a new home for the team at London Colney.

The 38-year-old Eidevall joins from the Swedish club Rosengård, who reached the quarter-finals of the Women’s Champions League last season, and succeeds Joe Montemurro.

“I feel honoured to be taking this role,” the Swede said. “Arsenal have a rich history, more successful than any other women’s team in England. I want to add to these honours.”

Eidevall began his coaching career aged 23 when he became an assistant at the Swedish men’s team Lund. He went on to manage the team for more than three years and in 2009 led them to the second division title.

Eidevall has had two spells with the women’s side Rosengård, sandwiching time as Henrik Larsson’s assistant at the men’s team Helsingborg. In his first stint with Rosengård he won back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014; on his return he won the Swedish Cup and then, in 2019, their first title in four years.

Arsenal’s chief executive, Vinai Venkatesham, said Eidevall was “the standout candidate” and “a great fit”.

Alongside the unveiling of the manager, who has two games left at Rosengård before his contract expires on 12 July, Venkatesham revealed a host of changes Arsenal are making after an extensive review.

For the tax year ending 31 May 2020 figures showed Arsenal employed 33 staff, including players, on the women’s side – compared with Chelsea’s 56, for example – and this is an area they are addressing with more medical and operations staff and a nutritionist, and the introduction of an individual development coach. There is also to be a new head of sports medicine and sports science.

Players will have more space and increased access to other facilities at London Colney next season, having training primarily at the Hale End academy site during the pandemic, and players, staff and Eidevall will be consulted on plans for a new women’s football building and expansion of facilities at the training ground – though the timeframe for this is unknown in part due to number restrictions on site because of Covid.

The women’s team will now also report to the director of football operations, Rich Garlick, who reports to Edu, bringing the men’s and women’s setups closer in line.

Increased investment is also promised, with Venkatesham saying: “Next year we’re going to be investing much more than ever before to give us the best chance of being successful.”

These changes helped to provide Eidevall with the assurances he needed about the ambitions of the club. He said he would add to the squad and believes depth is necessary to compete at the top.

“Whenever I spoke to anyone in the club the level of ambition for the women’s team was super high,” he said. “They are all passionate about this and want to improve things and seeing how they are now adding resources with staff, facilities and so on, that’s great and we’re really moving in the right direction. That’s excites me.

“For me it would have been a warning sign coming into a club like this with this fantastic history for them to be satisfied with being where they are. Good organisations need to be ambitious, they need to review things, they need to turn every stone to see how we can get better.”