These four recent transfers may be a gamechanger for women's football in Europe
The women’s game in European football has made massive strides of late, as these recent transfers indicate
While there was plenty of focus on the halted and then restarted men's professional football leagues across Europe, there was equally less spotlight on many of the women professional leagues that had to be curtailed and called off in 2019-20 due to the covid-19 pandemic.
These are exciting times for the women’s game, but it remains to be seen if major women's football leagues can pick up from where they left off before the pandemic hit. Encouraging signs are everywhere though. Earlier this month, the Dutch football association announced a pilot programme where women players will play competitively at a men's team in the country’s ninth tier “in the hope of greater women's participation in the men's game in future," according to an ESPN report.
The 2020 summer transfer window, which is open till 5 October, is another interesting area. According to the Guardian, more than 630 deals have been completed by clubs in the top five leagues in Europe this summer already. This is an improved number from last year, when globally, professional women’s football clubs completed 833 international transfers, as per FIFA’s 2019 edition of the Global Transfer Market Report released in January this year. The report, which looks at both men's and women's transfers, took into account moves completed between January 2018-December 2019 and showed overall upward trends when it came to transfers in the women’s game. That figure of 833 might just be crossed this year. Here’s a look at four big transfers from this summer’s window so far.
Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage to Manchester City WFC)
The biggest move of this transfer window so far saw US Women’s National Team star Sam Mewis join Manchester City WFC from National Women’s Soccer League club North Carolina Courage. Mewis, 27, was an integral part of the 2019 World Cup-winning USA squad and has an impressive 18 goals, 6 assists in 67 international caps till now. At 6 feet, she is a skilful attacking midfielder known for her set-piece abilities and becomes the first player from the stellar US women’s team to arrive in the FA Women’s Super League (WSL).
.@sammymewy 💬 City are an incredible club and I didn’t know I would get an opportunity like this so when I heard about it my ears picked up because it is such a great place to play.— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 11, 2020
🔵 #ManCity | https://t.co/axa0klUGiM pic.twitter.com/VgfXTLvJVd
Julia Simic (West Ham United to AC Milan)
After spending two seasons with West Ham United, German midfielder Julia Simic joined AC Milan earlier this month. The 31-year-old midfielder joined the Hammers from SC Freiburg in July 2018, but a recurring knee injury restricted her to just 22 appearances in all competitions in two years. She still contributed massively, helping West Ham reach the 2019 Women’s FA Cup final, where they lost to Manchester City. Milan now have themselves an experienced campaigner and a former Bundesliga-winning player.
Valerie Gauvin (Montpellier to Everton Women)
When Everton Women completed the signing of 24-year-old striker Valerie Gauvin from French side Montpellier earlier this month, their coach Willie Kirk described it as a “real coup" and a sign of the club’s ambition. Indeed, it is, and Everton can look forward to plenty of goals from this prolific forward. In the 2019-20 French domestic season, which was curtailed due to covid-19, Gauvin scored 14 times in 16 appearances and already has 14 international goals in 30 appearances for the French women’s national team.
Jessie Fleming (UCLA Bruins to Chelsea Women)
At just 22, it is fair to say that Canadian international Jessie Fleming has the world at her feet - having just signed her first professional contract with Chelsea FC Women, the reigning WSL champions. The midfielder, who made her international debut at the age of 15, already has 77 caps and 10 goals for Canada, and represented them in the World Cup in 2015 and 2019. Fleming previously played collegiate football for the UCLA Bruins women’s football team, scoring 25 times in 75 appearances, and will be a worthy addition to the Chelsea squad.
FIRST PUBLISHED17.08.2020 | 11:00 AM IST