Women's Super League: What can we expect in the WSL January transfer window?

Jane Ross (Manchester United), Rachel Corsie (Birmingham City), Toni Duggan (Atletico Madrid)
Manchester United’s Jane Ross (left) and Birmigham’s on-loan Rachel Corsie could be part of deals, while Atletico Madrid and England forward Toni Duggan (right) is expected to stay in Spain

It’s a new year which means only one thing in football – the January transfer window is open.

The 2020-21 summer window was one of the biggest the Women’s Super League has seen, with an influx of talent from the United States and Europe.

Coronavirus restrictions may limit how active WSL clubs are in January, but we have learned to expect a few surprises.

So who could be on the move? Who needs signing up on new deals? And which clubs are expected to spend?

New contracts and loan deals

Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema, holder of the all-time WSL goalscoring record, was “top of Arsenal‘s list” in terms of offering new contracts, manager Joe Montemurro said in October.

“We’re already starting to look at where we’re heading with the direction of next year and years to come, but obviously Viv will be on top of that list and we’ll do everything we can to make sure Viv remains a part of the group,” he said.

Those discussions were set to take place in November but with her current contract set to expire at the end of 2021-22, there has still been no agreement.

Meanwhile, Birmingham City are keen to agree either a permanent deal or a loan extension for defender Rachel Corsie, who is currently at the club until the end of January from American side Utah Royals.

Players are set to report back to National Women’s Soccer League clubs on 1 February for the start of a two-month pre-season campaign but there is an international window that month too.

Who could be active in the market?

Birmingham City and Everton are expected to make signings.

Carla Ward, Birmingham’s boss, said in December she wanted “four through the door” but admitted “we don’t have a lot of money”.

She could be limited on loan options given Birmingham already have the maximum two players over the age of 23 on temporary deals (Georgia Brougham from Everton, plus Corsie).

A back-up goalkeeper and a forward are on the wish list so Ward could turn to former club Sheffield United.

She worked well at United with forwards Katie Wilkinson, Jade Pennock and Veatriki Sarri, so they would be ideal targets. Chelsea have added a new goalkeeper to their squad too, so former Birmingham keeper Ann-Katrin Berger, 30, may be an option with just over a year left on her contract.

Meanwhile, Everton boss Willie Kirk said “January is a window we’ll be active in” but added he was keen to plan for the future too.

Rikke Sevecke is expected to be out until at least the end of the month and forward Valerie Gauvin has been ruled out for the long term, so they could be areas Kirk looks to cover.

The Toffees, along with German club Frankfurt, were linked with a move for USA defender Emily Sonnett, but she recently leftexternal-link Orlando Pride for Washington Spirit.

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Elsewhere, after investing in the summer, Manchester United could be looking to offload players.

Scotland forward Jane Ross, 31, has been linked with a move to Tottenham following Alex Morgan’s return to the USA, while Spurs and Wales midfielder Anna Filbey, 21, is understood to be exploring loan options.

New West Ham manager Olli Harder is expected to bring in players, while Brighton’s Hope Powell said the club “are looking and will continue to look” during the window but will only “buy to add value not to have the same value”.

England international Toni Duggan is set to remain in Spain but her contract at Atletico Madrid expires in the summer and there is expected to be interest from a number of clubs.

Which deals have already been sorted?

Mana Iwabuchi
Mana Iwabuchi, 27, has 72 international caps and was part of the Japan side that won the 2011 World Cup

One of Kirk’s priorities at Everton was to sign Scotland’s Claire Emslie on a permanent deal from Orlando Pride and the forward has now agreed an 18-month contract.

Aston Villa have signed Japan captain and 2011 World Cup winner Mana Iwabuchi from INAC Kobe Leonessa.

Chelsea have brought in Sweden goalkeeper Zecira Musovic on a two-and-a-half year deal.

And USA star Morgan returned to Pride following her short loan spell with Spurs, while striker Denise O’Sullivan returned to North Carolina Courage after a stint at Brighton.

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