Following the blockbuster arrival of United States icon Alex Morgan at Tottenham Hotspur, a frenetic Women’s Super League transfer window came to an end after a summer which saw many of the world’s best players sign for English clubs.
Five of the USA’s World Cup winners have joined the league, while five of the top 10 players listed in the Guardian’s ‘100 best female footballers in the world 2019’ now play in the WSL, with Lucy Bronze, Pernille Harder and Rose Lavelle joining Sam Kerr and Vivianne Miedema, who were already in England.
This summer’s deals have brought more global attention on the league than it has seen since it began in 2011, but which star signing will prove to be the best piece of business?
Lucy Bronze – Manchester City
England right-back Bronze has returned to Manchester City after three years with French giants Lyon, with whom she won three consecutive European titles.
The 28-year-old was voted as the BBC’s Women’s Footballer of the Year in 2020 for the second time, after helping the Lionesses reach the semi-finals of the past three major international tournaments.
Valerie Gauvin – Everton
France striker Valerie Gauvin, 24, joined Everton after scoring 14 times in 16 games for Montpellier last term.
She promptly scored on her debut for the Toffees in their season-opening 4-0 win away at Bristol City.
Alex Greenwood – Manchester City
Left-back Alex Greenwood became the second England full-back to join Manchester City this summer, after helping Lyon win the Champions League.
The former Manchester United captain, 27, has joined their local rivals having also previously played for Everton, Liverpool and Notts County and spent one year with the dominant French side.
Pernille Harder – Chelsea
Widely seen as one of the best players in Europe, Harder completed a move from Wolfsburg to Chelsea on 1 September for a transfer fee understood to be in excess of £250,000.
The Denmark captain, 27, had helped the German side reach August’s Women’s Champions League final, after being named as the German Women’s Footballer of the Year.
Tobin Heath – Manchester United
A two-time World Cup winner, the United States’ Tobin Heath also won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and is one of two USA stars to join Manchester United alongside fellow forward Christen Press.
Having previously played for Portland Thorns for seven years, Heath has been named in the NWSL’s Best XI in three different seasons.
Rose Lavelle – Manchester City
Lavelle was one of the stars of 2019’s World Cup, tormenting England’s defence early on in the semi-finals and then scoring the United States’ second goal in their victory over the Netherlands in the final.
In her 45 caps for her country so far, the 25-year-old has scored 12 times and provided seven assists.
Sam Mewis – Manchester City
Alongside her fellow United States midfielder Lavelle, Sam Mewis joined Manchester City this summer and was the first of the five world champions to be announced as a WSL player during the window.
The 27-year-old helped North Carolina Courage win America’s NWSL in both 2018 and 2019.
Alex Morgan – Tottenham Hotspur
A back-to-back World Cup winner and 2012 Olympic gold medal winner, Alex Morgan is a footballing icon in the United States, for whom she scored six times in 2019’s World Cup in France.
The 31-year-old, who gave birth to her daughter on 7 May, has 9.1m Instagram followers – more than Spurs’ official account or the royal family’s – and has obtained major endorsement deals over the years from brands including Nike, Coca-Cola and McDonalds.
Christen Press – Manchester United
Known for scoring brilliant goals – and plenty of them – Manchester United’s second USA forward Press will be familiar to England fans.
The 31-year-old scored the opening goal as the USA beat the Lionesses 2-1 in last summer’s World Cup semi-final.
What about the Six Matildas?
The summer window also saw no less than six members of the Australia national team – known as the Matildas – moving to England, joining other international team-mates including Chelsea’s Kerr, Everton’s Hayley Raso and Bristol City’s Chloe Logarzo, who all arrived last winter.
West Ham added goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold and midfielder Emily van Egmond, while London rivals Tottenham signed defender Alanna Kennedy.
Bristol City added experienced midfielder Ella Mastrantonio, while Arsenal also added two Aussies in highly-rated left-back Steph Catley and goalkeeper Lydia Williams.
Which other Brits might shine this term?
The window also saw Reading secure the signing of Wales’ legendary midfielder Jess Fishlock – who was the first player to reach 100 caps for Wales – and former Arsenal striker Danielle Carter, while Man City added pacey England winger Chloe Kelly from Everton.
Scotland captain Rachel Corsie was one of Birmingham City’s summer additions, while Aston Villa brought in former Chelsea and England defender Anita Asante and Everton signed Scotland winger Claire Emslie on loan from Orlando Pride.
Manchester United’s summer business also included moves for England forward Alessia Russo and Lionesses midfielder Lucy Staniforth, in a window unlike any the WSL has seen before.
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