What did we learn from the Women’s Super League Summer transfer window?
It’s been a busy summer for Women’s Super League sides as the summer transfer window draws to a close. Some shock exits as well as exciting talent coming into the league this season promises that it will be bigger and better than ever, following the most widely watched Women’s World Cup earlier this summer.
Let’s start with reigning champions Chelsea who, after the departure of captain Magdalena Erikson, made the important defensive signing of Ashley Lawrence to support the backline. They’ve also added former Lyon forward and promising US talent Catarina Macario to their squad. Macario is a bright talent for the US and Emma Hayes described her as “one of the most intelligent, creative attacking players in the world.” Can these transfers help Chelsea achieve a fifth WSL victory in a row?
But perhaps the biggest moves of the window came from Arsenal, who recruited England star striker Alessia Russo, from Manchester United. Arsenal made attempts to sign Russo back in the January transfer window to no avail, but their luck came this summer and they got their striker on a free transfer. We have already seen Russo in action in Arsenal’s champions league qualifiers where she scored two goals; and with Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema still recovering from ACL injuries, Russo will be instrumental in the early half of the season. It is scary to think of Arsenal’s attacking options and it will be interesting to see who Jonas Eidevall picks.
Aside from Russo, Arsenal have also completed a deal for Amanda Ilestedt – the Swedish defender who scored a total of four goals in the Women’s World Cup. She will slot into the backline to support Lotte Wubben-Moy in the absence of Leah Williamson, and following the departure of Rafaelle Souza. Another defensive option could be former Barcelona champions league winner Laia Codina, who comes in fresh from helping Spain in their World Cup victory.
After the signing of Rachel Daly last summer, Aston Villa have been growing and looked impressive last season. This summer they have looked to strengthen their squad and have had made a number of strong signings; last year’s loanees Kirsty Hansen and Anna Patten have signed permanent contracts with the club.
New signings include Ebony Salmon – who has been playing her football in the US, for Rachel Daly’s former club Houston Dash. Salmon brings a lot of attacking creativity and will be exciting to watch upfront with the likes of Daly. Another attacking option will be Canada’s Adriana Leon, who comes from Manchester United; and in goal will be the Netherlands’ goalkeeper and Ballon d’Or nominee Daphne Domselaar.
With the departure of Russo, Kirsty Hanson and Vilde Boe Risa, Manchester United have looked to fill the gaps. Early on, they signed Brazilian and former Barcelona striker Geyse who has a creative and strong attacking mind. They also found a strong replacement after the loss of Ona Battle to Barcelona, signing Gabby George. But questions remain about how this squad will fare in Champions League matches with such significant losses this summer.
Their cross-town rivals Manchester City had a relatively quiet transfer window, but did manage to sign midfielder Jill Roord – from Wolfsburg – for a club record fee of over £300,000. This will bolster the midfield that last season, seemed to miss the talent of Georgia Stanway and Keira Walsh.
Liverpool, Bristol City and Brighton and Hove Albion all made exciting additions to their squads with some quality young talent.
The last day certainly brought some excitement as Man United also closed a deal on OL Reign goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce, whilst they lost their attacker Martha Thomas to Tottenham Hotspur.
Arsenal made yet another huge signing in Kyra Cooney-Cross – the Australian international who shone at the Women’s World Cup this summer. She’ll round out their stacked attacking line up.
It certainly looks like it will be an exciting season with lots of talent across the board, you can tune into the first WSL games on Sunday October 1st.