Women’s football: WSL transfer window winners and losers

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The Women’s Super League transfer window has closed with a resounding slam after one of the busiest and most intriguing periods of activity since its inauguration. The sheer number of transfers perhaps shouldn’t have come as a surprise following the experimental Spring Series and the start of the new winter-scheduled season. With promotion, relegation, Champions League qualification and both WSL titles at stake, off-season recruitment will be key in determining the winners and losers of the upcoming season. 



Manager Pedro Martinez Losa had already snapped up one of Europe’s brightest attacking prospects in Vivianne Miedema before most other clubs realised the transfer window was open. Signing the Dutch striker looked a fantastic deal even before her Euro 2017 success, but after a stellar championship with four goals it is starting to look even better.

Letting Josephine Henning go to Lyon was always a puzzling move after some solid performances for the Gunners, so her return will be a welcome one to add strength at the back. Along with the addition of Jessica Samuelsson and the contract renewals of Sari Van Veenendaal, Alex Scott and Louise Quinn, Arsenal’s defensive unit looks robust.

Bristol City

After a mixed Spring Series, newly promoted Bristol City have been active in patching up their weak areas and replacing the losses of key players. Although they have lost Claire Emslie, Meg Alexander and Hayley Ladd, the Vixens have renewed contracts for the bulk of their first team, including Chloe Arthur, Millie Turner and Loren Dykes.

Manager Willie Kirk has added to a youthful side with the signings of Belgian duo Yana Daniels and Julie Biesmans, Dutch defender Danique Kerkdijk and coveted England Under-20 forward Carla Humphrey.

Charlie Estcourt returns for another season from Reading, and goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley also joins on loan from Birmingham.


Chelsea had less need to make additions during the transfer window with a tight squad already in place. After a scintillating Spring Series, Drew Spence’s contract renewal is an excellent piece of business, as are the highly rated signings of Magdalena Eriksson and Maria Thorisdottir.

Tottenham Hotspur

After promotion to WSL 2, Tottenham have made a fantastic signing in Sarah Wiltshire from Yeovil. A proven goal scorer at that level, she could be essential to establish their place as a WSL side.

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Shanice van de Sanden will be a huge loss for the Reds after impressing over the last few seasons and with the Netherlands at the Euros. Liverpool always looked a threat with Van de Sanden’s piercing runs down the wing and although they have added Beth England on loan from Chelsea, Scott Rodgers side have not made any other signings.

Birmingham City

Another quiet club during the transfer window, Birmingham have lost talented youngster Ellie Brazil to Fiorentina and Sophie Baggaley and Chloe Peplow out on loan. Maddy Cusack has arrived from local rivals Aston Villa but creativity was a problem at times for the Blues last season and little has been done to remedy the problem.

Manchester City

For Manchester City it’s all about new signings making up for some big losses to the squad. Since the Spring Series, City have lost Carli Lloyd, Kosovare Asllani, Toni Duggan and Lucy Bronze and brought in Claire Emslie, Mie Jans and Pauline Bremer as their replacements. It’s possible that the new signings will step into the shoes of these big names adeptly enough, so for now it would be fairer to call City “potential losers” of the transfer window. The club has renewed contracts for a number of key players like Steph Houghton, Jill Scott and Karen Bardsley, but their new signings will be open to greater scrutiny after losing a few fan favourites.

Follow Nancy on Twitter @nancyfrostick

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