The transfer season usually brings as much in the way of newspaper headlines and gossip to the back pages of the popular press during the summer months as the swings in fortune in the Premier League and across Europe manage to achieve during the season proper. But while most of the haggling and dickering in the men’s game has gone on ice while things are played out in Russia, the transfers in women’s football continue undeterred.
Major transfers on hold
It seems strange at first that the transfer season is in any way affected by the World Cup. After all, club and country are separate matters. However, the fact that the major names are out there focussed on the international game means that many have followed the lead of Marco Asensio, who has asked for discussions relating to his almost certain move to Chelsea to be deferred till World Cup 2018 is done and dusted.
Chances are, if there was a Women’s World Cup going on right now, the same would be being said, and a year from now, that will probably be the case. However, as things stand, there is more going on in the women’s game as far as transfers are concerned than in the men’s. Let’s round up some of the latest developments in recent days.
Liverpool skipper signs for City
Gemma Bonner has followed in the footsteps of Caroline Weir and announced that she will be leaving Liverpool for Manchester City. The Liverpool captain has six successful seasons at the club, which she joined at the age of 20, having started her career at Leeds and also had a brief stint at Chelsea. Bonner is the eighth player to leave Anfield since the season drew to a close.
She told the Manchester City website that she felt excited to be part of “such a special club.” Bonner is also an important part of the defence in the England women’s team, having represented her country at all age levels and received nine international caps for the senior team.
Welsh captain heads to Chelsea
Meanwhile back at Anfield, the door continues to swing closed on one senior player after another. Sophie Ingle started her senior career at Chelsea, leaving in 2013 to join Bristol before arriving in northern parts in 2015. Now, she will return to her roots.
Ingle said it was time for a new challenge, and that she felt she could better progress her career at Chelsea. The Cardiff-born midfielder has been a mainstay of Welsh women’s football for almost a decade, having made her senior debut in October 2009, just weeks after her 18th birthday. She has since made more than 50 appearances for Wales, and has been the national captain since 2015.
Rafferty to new WSL team West Ham
Perhaps the biggest surprise in recent days, though, is the news that Chelsea’s Claire Rafferty is leaving her club after more than a decade to join the newly promoted West Ham Women.
The club was elevated to the top flight at the end of last year, after new manager Matt Beard successfully applied for a WSL Licence. Rafferty joins another Chelsea teammate, goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer, in jumping ship and joining the newest team on the block. The England left back explained to the West Ham website: “"As soon as I turned up at the training ground, I got a nice gut feeling about the club - that's what made me think this is the club for me."
With long weeks ahead before the new season gets underway, there are certain to be more transfer surprises to come, so keep an eye on the news and try not to get to distracted by events in Russia!
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photos Janos Schmidt