5 of the most expensive women's transfers as Beth England completes record move

660     0
Pernille Harder along with manager Emma Hayes after completing her big-money move to Chelsea in 2020 (Image: Getty Images / 2020 Chelsea FC)
Pernille Harder along with manager Emma Hayes after completing her big-money move to Chelsea in 2020 (Image: Getty Images / 2020 Chelsea FC)

Beth England's move across London from Chelsea to Tottenham is widely expected to produce a domestic-record transfer fee between two Women's Super League clubs.

A final cost of around £250,000 is forecast, breaking the previous record set by Lauren James when she joined the Blues from Manchester United before last season. That deal came in at £200,000, but both sums be dwarfed in years to come as transfer fees increase across the women's game, not only in the WSL.

It also raises the question of when me might witness the first million-pound player, something the men's game first saw back in 1979 when Brian Clough and Nottingham Forest broke the bank to sign Trevor Francis from Birmingham. Considering that some of Europe's top clubs were still semi-professional just over a decade ago, the rise in transfer fees has been rapid.

Before long, we could see the same watershed moment arrive in the women's game, with female footballers hugely marketable off the pitch, as well as producing the goods on it. Here, Mirror Football takes a look at five of the most expensive transfers in the history of English women's club football.

Keira Walsh - Manchester City to Barcelona, 2022

Fresh from helping England win a first major tournament at last summer's Euros, Keira Walsh decided to swap Manchester for Catalonia, signing for Barcelona in a world-record deal. Walsh instantly became the most expensive female footballer in history, with the Spanish giants paying £400,000.

Earps reacts to FIFA Best nomination and on season so far with Man Utd eridzriquhikeinvEarps reacts to FIFA Best nomination and on season so far with Man Utd

Considering she was also in the final year of her contract, Walsh might have gone for an even larger fee had she not told City she wished to pursue a move to Spain. The midfielder, who was Player of the Match in the Euro 2022 final, signed a three-year deal after previously rejecting a move to Barca.

If she can maintain her high standards before pursuing another transfer in the next couple of years, Walsh has a good chance of breaking her own record.

Pernile Harder - Wolfsburg to Chelsea, 2020

Walsh's move smashed the previous record set by forward Pernille Harder when she moved to Chelsea from Wolfsburg in September 2020. Harder helped Wolfsburg win four consecutive German league and cup doubles after joining them in 2017 and although the official fee was undisclosed, it is believed to be around £275,000, once bonuses are taken into account.

It is no surprise Chelsea had to pay big bucks to bring her to the WSL; Harder was UEFA Player of the Year in 2018 and 2020. Since moving to west London, her stature within the game has only grown, helping the Blues reach the 2021 Champions League final.

However, she suffered a blow earlier this season when she was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Harder has since had surgery and is working her way back to fitness.

Beth England - Chelsea to Tottenham, 2023

5 of the most expensive women's transfers as Beth England completes record moveBeth England's move was confirmed by Tottenham, ending her seven-year spell at Chelsea (2023 Tottenham Hotspur FC)

England's big-money move to Tottenham is a sign of how fiercely competitive the WSL is right now. This isn't one of the traditional top clubs of Arsenal, Chelsea or Manchester City breaking the bank - and that is important.

Spurs are having a rough season, but the £250,000 fee paid for England shows the club's investment in their women's team can't be questioned. With 74 goals in 163 appearances at Chelsea and a fine international track record to boot, England was always going to fetch a decent transfer fee.

But the fact bottom-half-of-the-table Tottenham were willing to stump up such a sizeable figure shows how the transfer market is constantly evolving in the women's game.

Lauren James - Manchester United to Chelsea, 2021

This is perhaps the biggest surprise on this list, purely because of how young James was when she made the move. She was still a teenager when she swapped United for the club she played for at youth level, Chelsea in the summer of 2021.

Granted, Chelsea knew they were getting a very talented footballer, who they had first signed at under-10s level. She had also finished her first top-flight season at United as the club's top scorer, but the £200,000 transfer fee was still on the eye-watering side.

Man Utd boss Skinner sends firm message to Arsenal over Russo contract sagaMan Utd boss Skinner sends firm message to Arsenal over Russo contract saga

James has made her England senior debut since moving to Kingsmeadow and, before the Christmas break, was featuring on a more regular basis for Emma Hyaes' team than she had last season.

5 of the most expensive women's transfers as Beth England completes record moveLauren James celebrates putting Chelsea 3-0 up against PSG (Getty Images / 2022 Chelsea FC)

Hanna Bennison - Rosengard to Everton, 2021

Coming in fifth on the list, just behind James, is Everton midfielder Hanna Bennison. The Swede's arrival on Merseyside set the club back £185,000 in August 2021. Although the fee was high for a 19-year-old, Everton were always going to have to go big on Bennison, who had attracted from interest from Lyon prior to even signing a professional contact.

The talented playmaker had made her Sweden debut just under two years before joining Everton, and also had Man City and Bayern Munich fighting for her signature, only for her choose to join the Toffees. Bennison scored a winner for her country at last summer's Euros and has started to find more consistency for her club, memorably scoring Everton's third in a 3-0 derby win at Anfield against Liverpool earlier this season.

If she can build on a strong start to the season in 2023, Bennison might be able to repay Everton's investment quicker than first thought.

NEW! Our Year: European Champions 2022 - The Official England Winners Book

With a foreword by England manager Sarina Wiegman, this is the only official book of the historic triumph, reliving every kick of a thrilling tournament and telling the stories of the players who made it all happen.

Order from https://reachsportshop.com/book/our-year-european-champion-2022/

Jack Lacey-Hatton

Print page

Comments:

comments powered by Disqus