Pernille Harder: Chelsea Women sign Wolfsburg and Denmark forward

Pernille Harder
Pernille Harder was the top scorer in the Frauen Bundesliga last term wirth 27 goals in 21 games

Chelsea Women have signed Denmark captain Pernille Harder from Wolfsburg for a fee BBC Sport understands to be in excess of £250,000.

The 27-year-old forward, who had one year left on her contract, has signed a three-year deal with the English club.

Harder had helped Wolfsburg win four consecutive German league and cup doubles since joining them in 2017.

She also starred in the club’s run to Sunday’s Women’s Champions League final, which they lost 3-1 to Lyon.

That came after Harder scored four goals in Wolfsburg’s 9-1 quarter-final win over Glasgow City last month.

Her partner – Sweden defender Magdalena Eriksson – is Chelsea’s captain and lifted the Community Shield at Wembley on Saturday.

The transfer fee for Harder’s move to the Women’s Super League champions is thought to be one of the largest ever exchanged in the women’s game, although the exact world record fee is unknown because of the high volume of undisclosed deals.

How good is Pernille Harder?

Widely regarded as one of the best players in the world, Harder spearheaded her country’s run to the final of Women’s Euro 2017 and was the Uefa Women’s Player of the Year in 2018.

Harder has scored 61 goals in 118 senior international appearances for Denmark.

She began her career with Danish sides Viborg and Skovbakken, before joining Swedish outfit Linkopings in 2012 prior to her switch to Wolfsburg in January 2017.

This year was the second season in which she had won Germany’s golden boot, having netted 17 league goals to win the award in 2018.

‘She can play for any team in the world, but chose us’

Chelsea manager Emma Hayes told the club website: “Pernille is one of the best players in the world.

“Her record at Wolfsburg and Linkopings, as well as internationally with Denmark, shows how valuable she has been to her teams.

“She is a fantastic team player who wants to take her game to the next level. She chose Chelsea as the club that can push her to that level. She can play for any team in the world, but she chose us.

“She chose the players, the staff, the environment, the playing style. You can’t get a bigger compliment than that from one of the best players in the world.”

Analysis – One of women’s sport’s biggest ever moves

By Tom Garry, BBC Sport

In signing Harder, Chelsea have snapped up the best player in Europe for the peak years of her playing career. It is a huge statement of intent, as the English champions bid to try and become European champions.

Every club in the world would like to have her in their team – the fact she has chosen Chelsea is symbolic of a recent power shift in the women’s game.

For years, most of the world’s top players were making a beeline for Women’s Champions league holders Lyon. Not so this summer. Two of the most-wanted – Sam Kerr and Harder – have joined Chelsea since last winter.

The transfer fee involved is one of the largest ever exchanged in the history of women’s sport, but if Harder plays anywhere near as well for Chelsea as she has done for Denmark and Wolfsburg, the Londoners will feel they have got a bargain.