Chelsea Ladies’ squad has been strengthened after agreeing terms to bring Anita Asante back to the club, with the defensive midfielder to join officially when the transfer window opens on Friday 29 December.
Asante has signed a deal until May 2020 after announcing in November she would be leaving Swedish side Rosengard after four years with the club.
A defensive midfielder who is also capable of playing in central defence, the 32-year-old arrives with a wealth of experience at the highest level having competed in the Champions League, European Championships and World Cup finals, as well as winning a host of major honours.
A powerful and athletic performer, Asante returns to Chelsea after initially signing for the Blues in 2008.
Upon completing her move, she said: ‘I’m so excited to join the club. It’s a great football team, with a deep squad and I can’t wait to get started.
‘I’ve had the experience of playing here before, I have positive memories of that time and I’ve seen how much the club has grown since then, the success of the team and how they’ve developed. I feel I can be a part of that and contribute something.’
Manager Emma Hayes added: ‘Anita is a versatile central player who can play anywhere at the back or in midfield. I’ve heard Brazilian players saying she is good enough to play for their national team, which is high praise indeed, and she is a wonderful technical player who I’ve worked with before. She’ll bring great quality and character to the squad.’
Asante began her career with Arsenal, and it was during her successful spell with the Gunners that she first worked with Hayes, who was a member of the club’s coaching staff.
After moving to Chelsea in 2008, where she was a team-mate of Claire Rafferty and Eni Aluko, she was given the opportunity to move to the US and play for Sky Blue FC, a New Jersey-based club who Asante helped win the inaugural WPS Championship.
Among the teams Asante played for in the US were Washington Freedom, where she linked up with Hayes for the second time in her career, and after another spell with Sky Blue, she then joined Swedish side Gothenburg.
She enjoyed a fruitful spell with Gothenburg and was part of the team which won the Ladies Swedish Cup in 2012. Asante then scored as they won the Super Cup by beating Tyreso.
From there, she made the switch to Rosengard in 2013 and over the course of her four-year spell with the club helped them secure Champions League qualification. It was in that competition she recently played against Chelsea, as the Blues eliminated the Swedish side in the last 16.
Asante made her debut for the senior England team in 2004 having represented the Lionesses across various younger age groups, and went on to be a part of squads at four major tournaments, as well as playing for Team GB at the London Olympics in 2012.