The Women’s Super League has welcomed some real superstar names this summer, firmly cementing the league’s place as one to watch anywhere in the world.
The big clubs have become incredibly strong, but big signings and shrewd acquisitions are no longer just the domain of the traditional giants.
Here’s a look at the 12 most important transfers this summer – ranked.
Anita Asante brings a high level of experience to Aston Villa / Justin Setterfield / Getty Images
Aston Villa are playing their first top-flight season since qualifying for promotion from the Women’s Championship in 2019/20 and an experienced boss like Anita Asante could be crucial in avoiding an immediate relegation to the second tier.
The 35-year-old comes from Chelsea, has spent most of the last decade playing for clubs in the United States and Sweden, and has 70 England caps. While he hasn’t played in either of the opening two games and may not start regularly, the dressing room impact could be key.
Reading loan signing Jess Fishlock plays for Lyon/Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Wales international midfielder Jess Fishlock will temporarily add an extra level of quality to an already promising Reading squad during her loan from NWSL club OL Reign – she previously played for the all-conquering French side in a similar capacity. The Giants have played for Lyon.
Fishlock has been contracted to Reign since 2013 and last played in England for Bristol Academy in 2012. She can bring international experience, having also played in Australia, the Netherlands and Germany, promising to make Reading competitive.
Alyssa Russo caught by England while playing collegiate soccer/Brad Smith/ISI Photo/Getty Images
Alicia Russo has spent the past three years developing the UNC Tar Heels into a venerable program that previously produced the likes of Mia Hamm, Christine Lilly and even Lucy Bruns. Now that he is ready to return to professional life, Manchester United have won the race to sign him.
The highly-rated 21-year-old was a key player in the Tar Heels’ set-up and was capped by England during the 2020 Shebelius Cup. Ambitions to become WSL champions.
Chloe Kelly was last season’s WSL breakout star / Charlotte Tattersall / Getty Images
Along with the aforementioned Russo, Chloe Kelly is perhaps the most promising young international at England’s disposal. He was the WSL’s breakout talent last season with Everton and has now taken an extra step forward by joining Manchester City.
Competition for places at the Etihad Campus is fierce, but the 22-year-old has started both of City’s WSL games so far and will learn a lot from the more experienced players. As a quick injection of energy, it should thrive in the long term.
France striker Valerie Govin holds a transfer cup for Everton/Katherine Steinkeest/Getty Images
It was a major blow for an Everton side that has made significant progress over the past 12 months to lose the aforementioned Kelly in the summer, despite the arrival of French striker Valerie Govin as the Toffees’ de facto replacement. is a great statement.
Govan himself is just 24 years old and has featured at club level for Toulouse and Montpellier in France. She started all but one game for France at the 2019 Women’s World Cup on home soil, scoring twice during the competition.
Lucy Bruins has returned to the WSL after leaving Lyon/Manchester City.
Lucy Bruns’ return to England from Lyon is a major boost for Manchester City, who are operating without a dedicated right-back – forward Janine Beckie has been re-introduced to the role, while attacking midfielder Georgia Steinway. Have also played there.
The bronze is legitimately regarded as one of the best players in the world and returns to his former club with the added bonus of the experience of winning the Champions League several times. His drive and quality will strengthen the city’s previous weakness.
Sam Mewes started the trend of superstars going to the WSL / Charlotte Tattersall / Getty Images
Sam Mewes to Manchester City was the deal that seemed to start the influx of NWSL stars to the WSL. The tall and handsome midfielder combines typical American physicality with exceptional technique and has already impressed in City’s colours.
Mewis was a key part of the USWNT team that won the 2019 Women’s World Cup, starting all but two games in midfield alongside world-class talent.
Kristen Press adds attacking quality to Man Utd/Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images
Despite a resolute defense and a well-drilled midfield, Manchester United lacked the creativity and attacking spark to approach the established WSL ‘Big Three’ last season. That has now changed with two world-class forwards at Casey Stoney’s disposal.
Kristen Press was the second of the two to join from the Utah Royals. The 31-year-old is a two-time World Cup winner and played an active role in last summer’s triumph, including the opening goal in the semi-final against England.
Rose Lavelle won the Bronze Ball at the 2019 Women’s World Cup /VI-Images/Getty Images
Mews went first but, if anything, her arrival at Manchester City was eclipsed by USWNT teammate Rose Lavelle, who won the bronze ball as third best player of the tournament at last summer’s World Cup and She was ranked seventh in The Guardian’s Top 100 Women of 2019 list. Player in the word.
Lavelle adds a different kind of quality to the City midfield and should thrive in the WSL environment this season. Fans are still waiting for his debut, however, as the latter completed his transfer and was not settled enough to play before the September international break.
Pernell Harder joins Chelsea in world record transfer / James Gill – Dean House / Getty Images
As if Chelsea needed another world-class forward with Bethany England, Sam Kerr and a supporting cast of Erin Cuthbert, Ji Soo-yeon, Fran Kirby and Gaurav Retten. But that didn’t stop the Blues from making the world-record signing of Pernell Harder from Champions League finalists Wolfsburg.
Apart from the obvious quality an outstanding striker would add to a squad full of elite players, the move highlighted that the WSL is a genuinely attractive place – and that means Europeans, not just the US. based footballers who otherwise wouldn’t. Play
Tobin Heath deserved more recognition at the last World Cup / Howard Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images
Hours before the Manchester United player was confirmed by the aforementioned press, Tobin Heath was announced by the Red Devils. The 32-year-old adds another level that is hard to find anywhere in world football and is a two-time World Cup winner.
Heath started all but one game in last summer’s tournament and there’s an argument to be made that she was the United States’ best and most influential player, though those accolades are more publicly known to Megan. Rapinoe and Alex Morgan were found.
Alex Morgan will bring unprecedented global exposure to the Spurs / Maja Hattage / Getty Images
Alex Morgan is probably the single most famous active female player in the world and she has just signed for Tottenham. It’s not like an international superstar joining Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal or even an ambitious Manchester United, but Tottenham – a small team by comparison.
Morgan, who has 9.2 million Instagram followers to more than 8.5m on the club’s main account, will obviously improve Spurs on the pitch, but his somewhat surprising arrival will mean even more for both the club and the league. There will also be an international exhibition and conspiracy.
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