Prior to this summer's Women’s World Cup and afterwards we’ve seen all the WSL clubs make some top quality signings during the transfer window and as it’s now closed, it’s time to look at the best five signings (in my opinion) of the entire window.
1. Alessia Russo (Arsenal)
England’s new star striker Alessia Russo decided to leave Manchester United after three years at the club as she joined Arsenal on a free transfer back in July. Ironically, The Gunners had two world record bids rejected by United in January, and after personally rejecting numerous contract extension offers from United, Russo joined the North London club anyway.
The 24-year-old was United’s joint top goalscorer in the WSL last season with 10 goals and one assist in 20 games, and she of course helped her side finish runners-up in the league too (United’s highest ever finish) therefore securing them Champions League. In her two other WSL seasons with United, Russo scored a combined total of 12 goals and grabbed 6 assists in 26 appearances.
Arsenal also qualified for the Champions League by finishing third, however, they only made it into the qualifying stages. They beat Linkoping 3-0, but then lost to Paris FC W on penalties. Russo featured in both games, against Paris FC she already proved she will be a top quality signing for Arsenal as she scored twice. She is definitely one to keep an eye on as the golden boot contender this upcoming WSL season I’m sure.
2. Jill Roord (Manchester City, £300,000)
Manchester City signed Dutch International, Euro 2017 winner and Champions League runner-up Jill Roord from Wolfsburg for a club record fee in excess of £300,000.
The 26-year-old spent two years in Germany’s top flight, where she scored 17 goals in 40 league appearances, as well as 8 goals in 21 Champions League appearances. The midfielder was also at Arsenal from 2019-2021.
Roord also played a key part in her national team’s World Cup journey this summer, despite losing in the quarter-finals to eventual champions Spain, the midfielder scored 4 goals in just 5 games which is impressive.
Roord has signed on a three year deal and will be a key member of the City midfield this season, hopefully she can help them get back to their top form and back in the Champions League next season, where in my opinion they belong.
3. Daphne Van Domselaar (Aston Villa)
As England goalkeeper Hannah Hampton left for Chelsea, Carla Ward has shown that she and her side mean business this season as despite offers from many clubs, highly rated Dutch goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar has signed a three year deal with The Villains after her contract with FC Twente expired.
In the Eredivisie last season, the 23-year-old kept 15 clean sheets in 20 games, giving her a clean sheet percentage of 75%. In fact she only conceded 5 goals all season, so on average she conceded 0.25 goals per 90 minutes.
At this year's Women’s World Cup the keeper shone for the Netherlands, she played in all five of her side's games, kept three clean sheets and only conceded 2 goals. Throughout the tournament she also pulled off some incredible saves, and rightly so she has been nominated for the Women’s Ballon d’Or.
Arguably Villa have improved their squad immensely with the signing of Van Domselaar, Carla Ward will surely be hoping she can keep some clean sheets in the WSL this season which will see her side competing alongside United, City and Arsenal for a potential Champions League spot…
4. Geyse (Manchester United)
After losing key striker Alessia Russo, Marc Skinner and his Manchester United side have signed Brazilian forward Geyse Da Silva Ferreira from Barcelona for an undisclosed fee.
With the Spanish giants last season Geyse won the Spanish League title, Champions League and the Spanish Super Cup. In the league the forward played 24 times, scored 6 goals and grabbed 2 assists, in the Champions League the forward made more of a name for herself as in 10 games she scored 4 goals and grabbed 5 assists.
At this year's Women’s World Cup, Brazil were eliminated in the group stages and Geyse didn’t get lots of minutes however she still grabbed herself one assist.
In the pre-season friendlies United have played so far, the 25-year-old has impressed according to fans, but can she replace Russo’s goals and help United have another successful season? Only time will tell on this one…
5. Pauline Bremer
Brighton signed 2x Champions League winner with Lyon, ex Manchester City and Germany forward Pauline Bremer from Wolfsburg on a two year deal.
In her three seasons with Wolfsburg, the 27-year-old scored 13 goals in just 24 league appearances. She played for Manchester City in the WSL from 2017-2020 and scored 11 goals in just 13 league appearances.
The striker definitely brings an array of talent and experience into a Brighton squad that just about avoided relegation last season, but with new boss Melissa Phillips they will be looking to finish a bit higher up the table this season and hopefully Bremer can help the Seagulls do just that.
Some other key signings made in the window:
● Australian midfielder Kyra Cooney-Cross, signed for Arsenalfrom Hammarby IF on deadline day.
● English goalkeeper Hannah Hampton, signed for Chelsea from Aston Villa.
● German goalkeeper Janina Leitzig, signed permanently for Leicester from Bayern Munich after impressing on loan last season.
● USA forward Catarino Macario, signed for Chelsea on a free transfer from Lyon.
● Canadian defender Ashley Lawrence, signed for Chelsea from PSG.
● Japanese midfielder and WWC golden boot winner Hinata Miyazawa, signed for Manchester United from Mynavi Sendai.
● English defender Gabby George, signed for Manchester Unitedfrom Everton for £150,000
Overall, pretty much all the WSL clubs have had a decent transfer window. In my opinion the best signing has to be Jill Roord to City, she will add so much quality back into Gareth Taylor’s midfield especially as they never really replaced Walsh or Stanway after they departed.
But I have no doubt it will be interesting to see all these players in action throughout the season. Will we have some new champions? Will Villa push for a Champions League spot? Who knows...