Keeping hold of a prized asset is often the best bit of work done in a transfer window.
For teams hoping to challenge the leading side’s supremacy the need for a reliable source to keep finding the back of the net is key to their success, writes Martin Whiteley.
With a third Women’s Champions League place on offer for the top six European leagues next season, one player critical to her club being able to secure their spot in the competition is Khadija Shaw of Bordeaux.
Shaw arrived in France ahead of the 2019-20 campaign having signed a two-year deal with the southwestern-based side.
Previously the attacker had spent four years in the US college system.
Shaw, who turned 24 on 31 January, played two years starting in 2015, at Eastern Florida State College. During her time as a Titan Shaw found the net 24 times in 21 games and also contributed 11 assists.
Those impressive numbers were continued as the Jamaica International completed her education with a brace of years at the University of Tennessee. Shaw leading the Volunteers in goals scored in each campaign bagging 14 and 13 tallies, respectively.
While at Tennessee in an interview with the Knoxville News Sentinel Shaw explained how football had been an escape from the gang violence that had claimed the lives of three of her older brothers in her hometown of Spanish Town.
Forgoing the NWSL draft Shaw headed to Europe to start her professional career scoring 10 league goals in 15 games before her first season with Bordeaux was halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Like all the top-flight French teams Bordeaux was in Coupe de France Féminine action at the weekend which due to the health situation has seen a tweak to the beginning of this season’s competition.
All the Division 1 Féminine clubs will play in a round against each other before the six winners will be joined by lower-tier sides who will play their own knockout round at a later day to end up with 16 teams progressing.
The hope is that sides from all levels will be able to face each other to complete the competition as normal at some point in the future.
Shaw — already with a league-leading 17 goals this season — showed her importance again with a brace as Bordeaux got the better of Le Havre 5-0 at home. Last season’s winners Lyon (5-0) away to Reims and runners-up PSG (2-0) at Fleury 91 were also among the sides to progress.
With the scouting systems now so much better the hope of keeping any talented player under the radar of the top sides is becoming a lot harder to achieve. Add to that the fact that some clubs now have a transfer kitty that can be used to attract still contracted players to join them.
All of this makes it increasingly difficult for even teams at the level of Bordeaux to hold onto their most productive players.
Like having to say goodbye to a comfy pair of trainers, you just hope to get as much out of them as possible before the inevitability finally arrives.
You can follow Martin on Twitter @673martin