WSL transfer window preview: Earps and Fox to Arsenal? Mewis moves to West Ham


The January transfer window is historically not the busiest time in the Women’s Super League season, with many teams opting to do most of their strengthening over the summer. However, with more money swirling around the game there has been an increase in the number of winter moves seen across Europe.

Even last January, what was supposed to be a relatively low-key month became a hive of activity with 140 deals across the top five leagues in Europe — up from 111 the year before.

Although the winter window isn’t likely to deliver the same level of drama in 2024, here’s what you can expect from the 12 teams in the WSL.

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CHELSEA

What does the team need? There are few teams in England who can rival Chelsea for depth, but injuries to a host of first-team players have caused some issues for the champions. Adding another centre-back to the ranks would provide some of the stability the Blues have been missing so far this season.

Who are the major targets? Most of the players Chelsea have been linked with — including Paris Saint-Germain‘s Grace Geyoro and North Carolina Courage‘s Denise O’Sullivan — ply their trade in midfield, the one area where Chelsea don’t need any more depth. With Scandinavia the most likely hunting ground for most teams looking to strengthen this winter, a defender such as Hammarby’s Eva Nyström would be a solid option. Alternatively, Hayes could recall Brooke Aspin from her season-long loan at Bristol City.

Who could be leaving? Having just recovered from the shoulder injury that prematurely ended her previous loan to Swedish side Hammarby IF, Maika Hamano could yet be heading out again. Although, having made her Chelsea debut in the last WSL game before the winter break, the Japan forward may provide more attacking options for coach Emma Hayes.

Any new contracts? A lot has been made of Sam Kerr‘s comments about looking for a home in London with fiancée Kristie Mewis, who has just signed for West Ham. With just half a season left on her current deal, ensuring the Australia international signs a new contract will be top of the to-do list for Chelsea.

WSL transfer window preview: Earps and Fox to Arsenal? Mewis moves to West Ham

MANCHESTER CITY

What does the team need? Coach Gareth Taylor has a relatively fixed starting XI and handful of options to bring off the bench, but what City lack is like-for-like depth in case any of the squad suffer a long-term injury.

Who are the major targets? Opting to keep a smaller squad and only bring in Netherlands midfielder Jill Roord over the summer, City may well be happy to wait until the end of the season to add to their ranks although they may well make a play for 20-year-old winger Matilda Vinberg who has just left Hammarby.

Who could be leaving? Although Taylor has spoken about his goalkeeping options, the elephant in the room is the fact that former No. 1 Ellie Roebuck has not managed to get onto the pitch so far this season due to the emergence of 19-year-old Khiara Keating. Needing to stay in the conversation for England, Roebuck (who is still only 24 herself) is likely to look for a change of scenery.

Any new contracts? With four players signing new deals over the summer, City have shown more proactivity when it comes to sorting out contract extensions. But with Lauren Hemp‘s deal running out at the end of this season, City’s first job will be getting the England winger to agree to new terms.

WSL transfer window preview: Earps and Fox to Arsenal? Mewis moves to West Ham

ARSENAL

What does the team need? Having players back in the squad after long-term injuries can be like a new signing, and the return of striker Beth Mead has certainly helped kick the Gunners into gear. The club will be looking forward to the return Leah Williamson and Laura Wienroither later in the season, but have also been linked with North Carolina Courage full-back Emily Fox.

Who are the major targets? USWNT international Fox should be the first through the door for Arsenal, but the club may also try to sign a new goalkeeper to compete with No. 1 Manuela Zinsberger and have been linked with Manchester United and England star Mary Earps.

Who could be leaving? Yet to be registered for the season, Brazilian winger Giovana Queiroz is likely to go out on loan, as could midfielder Katherine Kühl. With half a foot out of the door last season, Switzerland defender Noelle Maritz could leave this winter and Netherlands star striker Vivianne Miedema could also look for alternative options after recovering from long-term injury.

Any new contracts? Coach Jonas Eidevall already signed new terms a few months ago, as did Republic of Ireland star Katie McCabe.

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1:44

Man Utd face ‘difficult situation’ in keeping Mary Earps

Rob Dawson explains why Manchester United face a “difficult situation” in their bid to keep their goalkeeper whose contract expires in 2024.

WSL transfer window preview: Earps and Fox to Arsenal? Mewis moves to West Ham

MANCHESTER UNITED

What does the team need? If Earps does leave, the Red Devils will want to bring in another goalkeeper and also look at strengthening their defensive options as the depth in that area currently available to coach Marc Skinner is too inexperienced.

Who are the major targets? United may struggle to get another top-tier goalkeeper if they feel they will be sat on the bench (as Sophie Baggaley can attest), so could opt for someone like Reading’s Jackie Burns who has WSL experience but may be happier to sit on the bench. For more defensive reinforcements, United could look to a defender like Hana Takahashi who is struggling for minutes at Urawa Reds, or someone a little closer to home like BK Hacken’s versatile Anna Sandberg.

Who could be leaving? Just as the conversation last January centered around Alessia Russo before she left for Arsenal in the summer, this window may be all about the future of Man United goalkeeper Earps. The BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner has yet to agree a new contract and went on record to speak out about the rumours regarding her future, but didn’t really clear anything up.

Any new contracts? Hayley Ladd signed a new deal in December and forward Leah Galton is next on the list before her contract expires at the end of the season.

WSL transfer window preview: Earps and Fox to Arsenal? Mewis moves to West Ham

LIVERPOOL

What does the team need? Liverpool have been playing well so far this season, but a little more depth at both ends of the pitch wouldn’t go amiss. No player has scored more than three league goals so far this season.

Who are the major targets? Coach Matt Beard tends to play his cards close to his chest and stay off the beaten path with his signings, so he could yet throw another curve ball this winter like Freiburg’s Switzerland international forward Svenja Fölmli or highly rated Ajax forward Romée Leuchter.

Who could be leaving? Beard is likely to want to keep his squad together and try to break into the top four this season, so won’t be keen to let anyone go.

Any new contracts? Nothing on the agenda as yet.

WSL transfer window preview: Earps and Fox to Arsenal? Mewis moves to West Ham

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

What does the team need? First and foremost, Spurs need Finland midfielders Olga Ahtinen and Eveliina Summanen back from injury — both are due to return early in the new year. But with only 15 goals scored and 20 conceded, there is an argument that coach Robert Vilahamn needs reinforcements at both ends of the pitch.

Who are the major targets? Australia international defender Charlotte Grant is set to be unveiled in January. The return of striker Beth England from a hip injury should also help the club’s search for goals, but Vilahamn has been coy about bringing in more players this window. Given his knowledge of Damallsvenskan, Spurs could be the next stop for Japan forward Yuka Momiki, who plays for Linköpings FC.

Who could be leaving? The arrival of Grant may spell the exit of defender Asmita Ale who has been sparsely used by Vilahamn, likewise defender Gracie Pearse who has only featured in the league cup, may end up going back out on loan in search of more regular minutes.

Any new contracts? Nothing to report yet.

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2:21

Spurs ‘defended for their lives’ in shock WSL win over Arsenal

Sophie Lawson reacts to Tottenham’s win over North London rivals Arsenal in the WSL.

WSL transfer window preview: Earps and Fox to Arsenal? Mewis moves to West Ham

EVERTON

What does the team need? Everton have had a surprisingly positive start to the WSL season given their lack of depth and mounting injury crisis. But, with a narrow budget to work with, the Toffees may struggle to add the players they need in each third of the pitch to compete for anything beyond a mid-table finish.

Who are the major targets? It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Danish coach Brian Sørensen look once again to his homeland to strengthen the squad with a defender like Fiorentina’s Emma Faerge or a young forward like Signe Hansen Baattrup from his former club Fortuna Hjørring.

Who could be leaving? In addition to 26-year-old forward Nicoline Sørensen who has surprisingly opted to retire at the end of the year, defender Nathalie Björn looks set for a move away and attracted some transfer offers over the summer.

Any new contracts? The good news for Everton is, in addition to making some decent summer signings, the club already handed out a host of new deals to multiple key players over the summer.

WSL transfer window preview: Earps and Fox to Arsenal? Mewis moves to West Ham

LEICESTER CITY

What does the team need? Leicester have come on leaps and bounds since coach Willie Kirk took over in November 2022. The Foxes will be looking to keep refreshing and improving the squad, but more strength at the back is needed.

Who are the major targets? Japan international midfielder Saori Takarada will arrive on Jan. 1. But, having missed out on a starting centre-back over the summer, adding to the defence will be high on the list of priorities. Although they haven’t been linked with many players, looking to sign a free agent like former Portland Thorns star Rikke Sevecke would be a solid start.

Who could be leaving? Midfield youngsters Jess Reavill and Monique Robinson may look for loan moves as they seek more playing time.

Any new contracts? Like a few other WSL teams, the Foxes took care of their key renewals over the summer.

WSL transfer window preview: Earps and Fox to Arsenal? Mewis moves to West Ham

ASTON VILLA

What does the team need? Villa simply need some younger blood as the average age of the squad is creeping ever higher. Having failed to impose themselves in games as they did last season, more strength in defence and midfield would be of use for coach Carla Ward.

Who are the major targets? Given a boost at this time last season with her savvy signings from around the WSL, Ward may have to look further afield this time around. Villa are one of several teams linked with Republic of Ireland international midfielder Denise O’Sullivan.

Who could be leaving? Unlikely to be anyone as Ward tries to keep the side in the WSL.

Any new contracts? Defender Danielle Turner is reportedly nearing the end of her contract and, having become a key part of the backline over the last season-and-a-half, a renewal is likely to be high up the club’s list.

WSL transfer window preview: Earps and Fox to Arsenal? Mewis moves to West Ham

BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION

What does the team need? There’s an argument that having signed 11 new players over the summer, the last thing the Seagulls need is for any new faces to arrive.

Who are the major targets? The major target will be to get some consistency from a squad that underwent such a big change in personnel a few months ago.

Who could be leaving? Still yet to break into the Brighton starting XI despite making the move three years ago, goalkeeper Katie Startup may look for a move away in search of regular minutes.

Any new contracts? Unlikely, given most of the squad only signed up in the summer.

WSL transfer window preview: Earps and Fox to Arsenal? Mewis moves to West Ham

WEST HAM UNITED

What does the team need? Experience. Without much time to work on building her squad after being appointed boss over the summer, Rehanne Skinner is likely to be busy this window as she looks to add much-needed experience to her team.

Who are the major targets? Having already announced the arrival of versatile USWNT international Kristie Mewis, Australia midfielder Katrina Gorry (who has over 100 caps for her country) should be the next through the door.

Who could be leaving? Like a few other WSL teams, some of West Ham’s under-used younger players might be looking for a short-term move away in hopes of seeing more consistent time on the pitch.

Any new contracts? Having attracted interest from elsewhere over the summer, ensuring Australia international goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold signs a new deal will be key for the Hammers.

WSL transfer window preview: Earps and Fox to Arsenal? Mewis moves to West Ham

BRISTOL CITY

What does the team need? There’s no hiding from Bristol City’s small budget and the constraints of what they’ve been working with this season. What the Robins actually need is the means to sign more experienced players, rather than only being able to offer a home for youngsters to cut their teeth.

Who are the major targets? The club don’t just have a small budget but they are at the limit for registered players, so would face extra problems if they were to bring in new blood over January.

Who could be leaving? Having handed out 11 new contracts over the summer, the majority of the squad are staying put.

Any new contracts? Those contracts mean Bristol have also taken care of most of their long-term business and are likely to have a quiet winter as they try to build some momentum to avoid relegation.



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