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Chelsea Ladies sign Arsenal pair


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Arsenal's domination of the English women's game is set for a new challenge following the shock exits of Lianne Sanderson and Anita Asante to Chelsea.

Striker Sanderson, 20, and midfielder Asante, 23, have joined the Blues' growing band of internationals.

Newly appointed Blues boss Steve Jones has also recently moved from Arsenal - where he was reserve team boss.

He said: "We've now got five England players and hopefully there will be a couple more internationals coming in."

Jones added: "The women's team are starting to get good backing from above and these fantastic signings show the intent the club has got."

"These great signings (of Sanderson and Asante) will tell the women's football world that this could be the place to come and play your football."

Asante said: "We're positive about what we can do here.

"The players already at the club have the same ambition as us to win things, and hopefully with us coming here they'll feel we've got a greater chance to do that."

Chelsea have yet to win a major honour, while Arsenal have collected an incredible 29 trophies in the last 16 seasons.

Yet Asante and Sanderson, both products of the Arsenal academy and both with the club for a decade, were happy to make the move.

Sanderson, the Premier League's top scorer for the last two seasons, said: "Anita and me have won everything at Arsenal and we wanted a new challenge.

"I've been there for 11 years so it's not been an easy thing to do to leave them.

"But Chelsea are an up and coming team and hopefully I can make a positive impact."

Arsenal manager Vic Akers is reeling from the rarity of losing two top players to a rival club and he is critical of the way he learned of the situation.

"The first I heard about it was when I got a text from Lianne," Akers said. "You think you've the respect of players, and then they do that. It's a sorry state of affairs."

But Sanderson explained: "I couldn't get in contact with Vic at the time, but I had various conversations with him last season about how I felt.

"He obviously didn't realise I was as keen as I was about leaving, so when I told him it came as a bit of a shock."

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The ladies team has been built up rapidly in the last season or so, adding Lorrie Fair last season as well as a couple of others and now these 2 there is a definate statement of intent to try and break Arsenal's complete monopoly of the ladies game.

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