Women’s Super League: What to expect in the transfer window

Natasha Flint, Hannah Hampton, Vicky Losada and Lauren James
The WSL transfer window closes on 2 September

The Women’s Super League transfer window for the 2021-22 season opens on 11 June, so who might be on the move?

Last summer there were 73 new signings in the WSL, 23 of whom were English players.

The two Manchester clubs acquired four of the United States’ 2019 World Cup winners between them, while Chelsea signed European star Pernille Harder for a record fee.

Who might this summer’s new arrivals be? What do clubs need? And what are the factors that might affect clubs’ transfer activity?

What impact could homegrown quota have?

This season sees the introduction of a new rule. WSL teams will have to include at least eight homegrown players in their registered squads of 25 players. They must have been trained by their club, or another club in England, for at least three years prior to their 21st birthday.

That means we could see more movement of young English talent across the WSL and fewer foreign imports.

Who could be on the move?

Nikita Parris
England international Nikita Parris joined Lyon in May 2019

Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema is out of contract next summer and it has been reportedexternal-link she could be part of a swap deal with Lyon and England forward Nikita Parris.

Defender Leah Williamson‘s Arsenal contract expires this summer and in January she had interest from European giants Lyon, PSG and Wolfsburg.

WSL champions Chelsea are expected to announce the signing of Manchester United forward Lauren James. Blues striker Bethany England could go out on loan in search of regular playing time before next summer’s European Championship.

Barcelona captain Vicky Losada looks set to join Manchester City, while rivals Manchester United are in the market for more attacking quality – Barcelona’s Asisat Oshoala is among those being linked.

Manchester City defender Aoife Mannion could join Manchester United.

Defender Megan Campbell, whose contract at Manchester City recently expired, is expected to join Championship side Liverpool. And on-loan Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott could sign permanently for Everton.

Everton have also been linked with Atletico Madrid forward Toni Duggan.

Defender Becky Jane, recently released by Liverpool, has interest from a few WSL clubs, with Brighton believed to be among them. The Seagulls have also held talks with Reds forward Rinsola Babajide and came close to agreeing a deal in January.

Manchester City’s Lee Geum-min enjoyed a good loan spell at Brighton, so is likely to sign for them permanently.

Hannah Hampton
England international Hannah Hampton is set to leave Birmingham City

Elsewhere, relegated Bristol City are expected to lose a few players, including striker Yana Daniels, with Liverpool among those rumoured to be interested, while Wales’ Gemma Evans could join Reading. And Manchester United could bring in goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley, with Emily Ramsey potentially leaving.

Birmingham City goalkeeper Hannah Hampton and striker Claudia Walker have had interest from several WSL clubs – including Tottenham and West Ham – and are expected to leave.

New Aston Villa boss Carla Ward – who managed Birmingham last season – may try to bring a few of her former players across the city from the Blues.

On-loan West Ham midfielder Cho So-hyun could make her move a permanent one at Tottenham, while Alisha Lehmann might leave the club. Spurs forward Rianna Dean is also expected to move on.

Striker Katie Wilkinson, who has left Sheffield Unitedexternal-link, has attracted interest from a few WSL sides, but Leicester City’s top scorer Natasha Flint is set to remain at her newly promoted club despite numerous offers from elsewhere.

What do clubs need?

Angharad James
Wales international Angharad James left Reading to join American side North Carolina Courage

Manchester United need a striker or two. They are expected to lose James and USA stars Tobin Heath and Christen Press.

Former boss Casey Stoney is believed to have done most of the recruitment before leaving.

Reading need several midfielders after Fara Williams announced her retirement at the end of the 2020-21 season and Wales international Angharad James joined North Carolina Courage.

Birmingham City are believed to have had just two players under contract following the end of last season, so they will need to agree new deals and make some signings.

Aston Villa, West Ham, Tottenham and Brighton have also announced several departures, and so will be looking for replacements.

Finally, Leicester City will want to add some more Super League quality after winning promotion from the Championship.

Which deals have already been sorted?

Mana Iwabuchi
Mana Iwabuchi scored twice in 13 games for Aston Villa

Arsenal signed Japan forward Mana Iwabuchi after her exit from Aston Villa, while Jill Roord left the Gunners to join German team Wolfsburg.

Bristol City lost striker Ebony Salmon to American side Racing Louisville, alongside former Manchester City defender Gemma Bonner.

Chelsea have signed Dutch defender Aniek Nouwen.

Everton defender Ingrid Moe Wold has retired, while USA duo Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis have left Manchester City.

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