Anita Asante returned to Chelsea in January 2018 almost a decade after her previous spell with the club, but after starting brightly an injury sustained while away on international duty ruled her out for the rest of the season.
The defensive midfielder, who is also capable of playing in central defence, signed a two-and-a-half year contract at Kingsmeadow, bringing with her 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.
Asante began her career with Arsenal while studying politics and English at university, and it was during her successful spell with the Gunners that she first worked with Emma Hayes, who was a member of the club’s coaching staff.
Shortly after joining Chelsea in 2008, 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 played against Chelsea in the 2017/18 season, 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 she 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.
Asante's quality had been quickly apparent on her return to the Blues in 2018, but after just five appearances, two of which were as captain, she picked up a serious injury while away with England and was ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.