International Soccer

What every club needs in 2024 summer window

WSL transfers: What every club needs in 2024 summer window

After an exciting 2023/24 Women’s Super League season, in which Chelsea pipped rivals Manchester City to the title on the final day, attention has already shifted to the transfer window and the big summer ahead.

A number of clubs have already confirmed big name departures – including Fran Kirby’s exit from Chelsea and Vivianne Miedema ending her time at Arsenal. The focus of teams across the division will be on ensuring their squads are ready to go ahead of what is expected to be another exciting campaign in 2024/25.

There will also be plenty of managerial changes as Chelsea have already confirmed the appointment of Sonia Bompastor in place of Emma Hayes. Meanwhile, Aston Villa and Leicester City are among the clubs in the market for a new head coach this summer.

With that being said, 90min takes a look at where each club may look to strengthen in the upcoming transfer window…

Vivianne Miedema

Vivianne Miedema departed Arsenal at the end of the 2023/24 season / Richard Heathcote/GettyImages

It’s set to be an important summer for Arsenal as they look to improve on their third-place finish in the WSL last term. Despite clinching a second consecutive FA Women’s Continental Tyres League Cup in March, their league form was some way off where it needed to be to challenge for the title.

A goalkeeper is one position they may look to strengthen in the coming months. Manuela Zinsberger only signed a new contract in January and is their number one, but both Sabrina D’Angelo and Kaylan Marckese departed the club at the end of the season, which reduces their goalkeeping ranks. 

Previous links to Manchester United’s Mary Earps and more recent rumours tipping them to move for Aston Villa’s Daphne van Domselaar very much suggests they’re in the market for competition in that area of the pitch. Strong enough back-up and someone to push Zinsberger should be high on the agenda.

Elsewhere, Stina Blackstenius and Alessia Russo are strong attacking options, but the departure of Vivianne Miedema leaves a significant hole to fill in the squad. Speculation linking them with free agent Mariona Caldentey after Barcelona confirmed her departure indicates Jonas Eidevall is keen to bolster his squad with a new forward ahead of the new season.

Departures: Vivianne Miedema, Sabrina D’Angelo, Kaylan Marckese

Players linked: Mariona Caldentey, Daphne van Domselaar

Daphne Van Domselaar

Aston Villa goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar is reportedly the subject of interest from Arsenal / Visionhaus/GettyImages

First and foremost for Aston Villa, the priority is replacing Carla Ward, who vacated her role as manager at the end of the WSL season. It’s unlikely there will be any significant movement on the transfer front until a new head coach is in place.

Like Arsenal, Villa are also expected to be in the market for a goalkeeper this summer with the futures of Van Domselaar and Anna Leat uncertain. D’Angelo, who has parted ways with the Gunners, is among the names tipped to join the club.

Midfield is an area of the pitch they also lack options following the departure of Laura Blindkilde Brown in January. Miri Taylor joined on loan from Liverpool to bolster their options and Villa may look to bring her back on a permanent deal following her release from the Merseyside club.

With Jordan Nobbs and Lucy Staniforth both upwards of 30 and Lucy Parker missing most of the second-half of the season through injury, it’s certainly a position they can improve on heading into the new campaign.

Departures: Olivia McLoughlin – rest of released list not confirmed

Players linked: Sabrina D’Angelo

Elisabeth Terland

Brighton will hope to keep a hold of star forward Elisabeth Terland / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

After an outstanding 2023/24 campaign, Brighton may struggle to keep a hold of star forward Elisabeth Terland this summer. The 22-year-old was the third top goalscorer in the division last term, level on 13 with Chelsea’s Lauren James.

Rumours have already emerged linking WSL rivals Manchester United with a move for the player. In an attempt to stave off any interest, a report from The Argus claims both Terland and rising star Katie Robinson have both been offered new contracts with the club.

Still, bolstering their attacking ranks will be a safe bet in the event any of their big hitters are poached. Midfield may also be an area to look at due to a number of players in that position departing this summer.

Departures: Lulu Jarvis, Emma Kullberg, Tatiana Pinto and Veatriki Sarri

Players linked: Asmita Ale

Sonia Bompastor

Former Lyon boss Sonia Bompastor will succeed Emma Hayes at Chelsea / Catherine Ivill – AMA/GettyImages

It’s difficult to pick out areas of improvement for a team that have won five WSL titles on the bounce. Chelsea are seemingly well-stocked in every area of the pitch and have the most frightening squad depth in the division.

They’re set to begin a new era under new manager Bompastor, after the long-serving Hayes departed at the end of the season to pursue a new opportunity with the US Women’s National Team. The French coach may look to put her own stamp on the playing squad, but it’s likely only minor tweaks will be needed.

One area Chelsea have been particularly successful in is their future-proofing and recruitment of young talent. Signing the likes of Brooke Aspin, Alejandra Bernabe and Wieke Kaptein last year and then sending them out on loan points to that. If reports are to be believed, they may look to do the same with Manchester City’s Ruby Mace this summer.

Departures: Fran Kirby, Maren Mjelde

Players linked: Ruby Mace

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Barclays Women's Championship

Ria Percival helped Crystal Palace to the Championship title last term / Sebastian Frej/MB Media/GettyImages

The WSL newcomers face a crucial summer as they gear up for their first season in the top flight. They clinched the Championship title last term after what was a fiercely contested title race against the likes of Southampton, Charlton Athletic and Birmingham City.

Now, they must build a squad ready to compete and retain their place in the league. Staying in the WSL is the biggest challenge facing newly-promoted sides, as Bristol City discovered last season.

Signing players with WSL experience will be an absolute must for the Eagles this summer. They may get just that if they’re to sign Ria Percival on a permanent deal following her loan spell with the club, but further additions will certainly be required.

Departures: Annabel Johnson, Polly Doran, Anna Filbey, Shauna Guyatt, Natalia Negri and Ellie Noble

Players linked: Ria Percival (permanent move)

Inma Gabarro

Everton have been linked with Sevilla’s Inma Gabarro / Ion Alcoba Beitia/GettyImages

The 2023/24 season was a turbulent one for Everton as consistency was certainly lacking at times. They won just six of their 22 WSL games and ended the campaign in eighth, two places below their 2022/23 finish.

Still, there is plenty of promise under manager Brian Sorensen and solid recruitment in the coming months could help them move back up the table next term. A forward should be one signing they look to make as their attacking depth is sparse.

They have been boosted by Katja Snoeijs extending her stay on Merseyside, but further attacking options to provide competition for places will be crucial. The defence will also be an area to look at as Justine Vanhaevermaet, typically a midfielder, was often deployed at centre-back last season due to mounting injuries in the squad.

Departures: Kathrine Kuhl (end of loan) – rest of released list not confirmed

Players linked: Inma Gabarro, Toni Payne

Aileen Whelan

Aileen Whelan announced her retirement at the end of last season / Michael Regan/GettyImages

After a promising start to the 2023/24 season, it’s fair to say Leicester City’s campaign petered out. Their drop in form was likely, in part, due to the disruption surrounding the manager and the club are yet to confirm Willie Kirk’s permanent replacement.

Despite positive progress and a handful of exciting signings last summer and in January, further additions will be needed to ensure they keep the pace with the teams around them. The team’s depth in multiple positions was hampered by injuries.

Firepower in the forward areas should be a priority due to the persistent injury problems in that area of the pitch. Elsewhere, Aileen Whelan’s retirement may prompt movement in midfield, too.

Departures: Aileen Whelan (retirement), Asmita Ale (end of loan) – rest of released list not confirmed

Players linked: Asmita Ale (on a permanent deal)

Olivia Smith

Liverpool are among the clubs linked with Canada starlet Olivia Smith / Gualter Fatia/GettyImages

This summer is arguably Liverpool’s most important yet. A top four finish secured last season; the Merseyside outfit are finally on track to becoming a consistent force in the WSL once again.

Under Matt Beard, the Reds have become an exciting team to watch and the consistency shown last term helped them leapfrog rivals Manchester United in the table – now they have to sustain it.

A winger/attacker is likely to be high on the agenda following the departures of Melissa Lawley and Shanice van de Sanden. This is evident in the links to Canadian starlet Olivia Smith, who is also reportedly wanted by Arsenal. Although, it is possible she could be viewed as a replacement for Emma Koivisto as a right-sided wing-back ahead of their usual back three of Grace Fisk, Gemma Bonner and Jenna Clark.

Departures: Emma Koivisto, Melissa Lawley, Miri Taylor and Shanice van de Sanden

Players linked: Olivia Smith

Steph Houghton

Steph Houghton retired from football at the end of the season / James Baylis – AMA/GettyImages

The 2023/24 season ultimately ended in heartbreak for Manchester City and Gareth Taylor as they were pipped to the WSL title by rivals Chelsea. However, the silver lining is certainly their return to the Champions League next term after securing qualification with a second-placed finish.

A number of key names, including Steph Houghton, depart this summer and Taylor faces a significant task to ensure they are able to keep the pace at the top of the WSL table. A striker will be key to that as City’s lack of depth in that position was exposed at the end of last season following an injury to Khadija Shaw.

Links to Vivianne Miedema following her departure from Arsenal suggests City are looking intently at strengthening their attacking ranks. Elsewhere, midfield might be another area to look at due to the departures of Ruby Mace and Filippa Angeldahl, while Jill Roord’s return date from her ACL injury is still unknown.

Departures: Esme Morgan, Steph Houghton, Ellie Roebuck, Demi Stokes, Ruby Mace, Filippa Angeldahl

Players linked: Vivianne Miedema

Mary Earps

Goalkeeper Mary Earps faces an uncertain future at Manchester United / Visionhaus/GettyImages

It’s set to be another summer of upheaval at Manchester United with so much uncertainty still surrounding the futures of a number of players. Mary Earps, Lucia Garcia, Rachel Williams, Nikita Parris and Katie Zelem are among those out of contract.

Garcia has already been linked with a move to Mexican side Monterrey, while Earps is the subject of interest from PSG and Arsenal. A goalkeeper will be high on the list if England’s number one is to depart the club, although United seemingly put a contingency plan in place 12 months ago with the signing of Phallon Tullis-Joyce.

A new forward will also be necessary should both Garcia and Williams opt to end their stay in Manchester. Links with Brighton’s Terland have emerged indicating it’s an area of focus for the club in the coming months.

Departures: Melvine Malard (end of loan) – rest of released list not confirmed

Players linked: Elisabeth Terland

Grace Clinton

Tottenham will lose a key player in Grace Clinton following the end of her loan spell / Richard Pelham/GettyImages

It was a positive first season for Tottenham under manager Robert Vilahamn as they secured a top six finish and reached the final of the FA Cup, before they were beaten by Manchester United at Wembley last month. 

The Spurs head coach will be eager to bolster his squad this summer, not only because of the sheer number of players departing, but to ensure they continue to compete in the top half of the table. A midfielder will likely be top of the list due to Grace Clinton returning to her parent club.

As reported by 90min, Spurs have discussed a move for Fran Kirby following her departure from Chelsea, although the expected wages could prove to be a stumbling block for the North London club. 

Departures: Shelina Zadorsky, Ramona Petzelberger, Ellie Brazil, Ria Percival, Asmita Ale, Gracie Pearse, Nikola Karczewska, Grace Clinton (end of loan)

Players linked: Fran Kirby

Mackenzie Arnold

Goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold is among the West Ham players facing an uncertain future / Alex Davidson/GettyImages

2023/24 was a disappointing season for West Ham as they finished 11th in the standings, with Bristol City the team to ultimately suffer the drop. Following a relegation battle, there is work to be done to ensure they compete in the top half of the table once again.

While the club are yet to confirm player outgoings, there are already areas of the squad the Hammers may look to strengthen. A forward may be on the list as they are currently overly reliant on Riko Ueki and Viviane Asseyi and arguably require more quality options.

With the club also at risk of losing a handful of players who are out of contract, including Mackenzie Arnold, a goalkeeper may also be required if they are unable to renew the Australia international’s deal.

Departures: Shelina Zadorsky (end of loan) – rest of released list not confirmed

Players linked: Shelina Zadorsky (on permanent deal)

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