Follow Women's Deadline Day on Sky Sports News and the Transfer Centre blog
Thursday 10 September 2020 16:15, UK
As the women's transfer window closes on Thursday, the Women's Super League and its clubs will be delighted with the business done over the last few months.
A number of star names have arrived on English shores since June 19, as well as some key signings from within the league, as the WSL gets back up and running after the cancellation of the 2019/20 season due to coronavirus.
After one of the most successful windows for the women's league - including the British record broken for a women's transfer - we take a look at some of the talented players you will be hearing about this season.
Follow Women's Deadline Day on Sky Sports News and in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog. The domestic window closes at 5pm while the international window closes at midnight.
Denmark captain Pernille Harder is a blockbuster signing for the WSL as well as Chelsea, arriving from Wolfsburg on a three-year deal for a British record fee in excess of £250,000. The striker, who can also be deployed as as attacking midfielder, won the domestic double in each of her four seasons in Germany and netted 103 goals in 113 games.
"She can play for any team in the world but she chose us," said Blues boss Emma Hayes. "She chose the players, the staff, the environment, the playing style. You can't get a bigger compliment than that from one of the best players in the world."
Harder, UEFA's player of the year in 2018, said: "The English league, it's so exciting at the moment and I'm really looking forward to it."
A familiar face to WSL and Manchester City fans alike, Lucy Bronze rejoined Gareth Taylor's side on a free transfer following the expiry of her Lyon contract. While at the French club, she won three successive Champions League titles - the first English player of any gender to do so - and remains an integral part of the England set-up.
Like the men's team, Man City are chasing that elusive Champions League trophy and are aiming to win their first WSL title since 2016 this season, agonisingly missing out last term after Chelsea were awarded it on points per game following the league's cancellation. Bronze's return will give them a huge boost in achieving those aims.
"I'm really happy to be back here at City," Bronze said after her return to the club. "I always had it in my mind that I would return one day and it just feels like the perfect time and opportunity right now.
"I really enjoyed my time in France, but there were so many things that I missed and it's great to be back. There's nowhere I'd rather be right now than with Manchester City and I'm really excited to see what the future holds with the exciting squad we have here."
The USA's World Cup-winning midfielder will spend a year at Manchester City before returning to new National Women's Soccer League club OL Reign and can't wait to get started.
"The idea of playing in the Champions League and competing for so many different titles was really fun; I'm up for it and I think it'll be a good time," she said. "Man City is one of the best clubs in the world, both for the men and women's side; they have so many resources for both teams so that was awesome."
Lavelle was named the third best player at the 2019 World Cup, behind compatriot Megan Rapinoe and England's Lucy Bronze. "I have big admiration for Lavelle," Chelsea striker Beth England told Sky Sports. "I watched her in the World Cup and thought she was unbelievable. It's exciting for the league; it's going to be nice to see how she plays and adapts."
Another star US midfielder, Sam Mewis, has signed a short-term deal with City after moving from NWSL North Carolina Courage. The 6-footer with 67 caps prides herself on her dribbling ability and aerial threat, having already made her debut in the Community Shield defeat to Chelsea.
"I'm really excited to see how I fit in with the group," she told City's website. "Maybe I'll bring a bit of a unique style being American and having played a really high-pressure, attacking-oriented style in the last few years."
The veteran USA international has joined Manchester United on a one-year deal from Portland Thorns, where she had played for the last six years. Prior to joining the Oregon-based side, Tobin Heath spent two years with PSG and was shortlisted for the 2019 Women's Ballon D'or.
The winger has also been involved with the national team since 2008, winning two World Cups - and a runners-up spot in 2011 - two Olympic gold medals, four Algarve Cup titles and two SheBelieves trophies.
Manchester United manager Casey Stoney said: "She is an outstanding player who brings a wealth of experience to the squad. She is extremely skilful and possesses so much quality on the ball; her speed and intelligence in one vs one situations will be a real asset that will push the team forward this season, and I can't wait to see her make her mark on the league."
Christen Press has followed her USA team-mate to Manchester United, also penning a one-year contract. The forward has previous experience of playing in Europe, having feature for Swedish sides Goteborg and Tyreso FF, and also has a seasoned international career.
Press has earned 138 caps and scored 58 goals, with two World Cups and three SheBelieves Cup titles under her belt. She was also recently awarded the Golden Ball for best player at the 2020 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship, which was won by the USA.
Upon signing, she said: "I'm really excited to be joining Manchester United this season. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to play for such an elite club and beyond ready to get back on the field. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to continue to strive to be my best and to compete for trophies this year. I look forward to this new challenge and I can't wait to start training with the team."
Wales' most-capped player has joined Reading on loan from OL Reign while the NWSL is on hiatus. Jess Fishlock spent more than a year sidelined by a serious knee injury but Royals manager Kelly Chambers has described her as a "world-class player with incredible experience".
Former Arsenal and England forward Lianne Sanderson told The Women's Football Show on Sky Sports: "Mewis and Lavelle are the top two everybody is looking out for, but Fishlock coming back to play in England is also a big plus."
A move made from inside the WSL, Chloe Kelly joined Man City after the expiration of her contract with Everton and is one of the brightest young talents in England. She scored nine goals in 11 WSL games for the Merseyside club last season and at the age of 22, has already made three appearances for the Lionesses.
"I'm unbelievably excited. I'm just so happy to have the deal sorted and I can't wait to get going - I'm honoured to be a City player," Kelly said. "Manchester City are a hugely ambitious club whose aspirations match my own and as soon as I had my initial discussions with the staff, I knew there and then that it was the place I wanted to be.
"Players have made huge steps since moving to Manchester City. I've been watching them and seeing how much they've developed and it's made me eager to do the same. If I can learn a little thing from each of the players to take into my game, it will be massive."
Another England international moving to Man City, Alex Greenwood has followed Bronze is coming back to England following her year-long stay at Lyon where she won the Champions League and Division 1 title.
The left-back has previously played for Everton, Notts County and Liverpool and captained Manchester United in their first season as they won promotion to the WSL. She has also been part of England's recent success, securing a bronze medal at the 2015 World Cup, reach the semi-finals at last summer's tournament and winning the SheBelieves Cup in 2019.
City head coach Gareth Taylor said: ""She is a proven England international who will fit right into the group we have here at City, while she has also been involved in a number of successes recently to add accolades to her already impressive career so far. She's a very ambitious player and we're looking forward to hopefully enjoying more success together in the coming seasons."
Despite earning 35 caps for England, Rachel Daly has not played club football in her home country since 2012 but has now joined West Ham on loan until the end of the year. It comes after she captained Houston Dash to victory in the NWSL's Challenge Cup earlier this summer and was named as the tournament's MVP. She signed a new three-year deal with the Texas-based side before joining the Hammers.
She has already made her West Ham debut, coming on as a half-time substitute in a 1-1 draw with Totteham, with head coach Matt Beard saying upon her signing: "I am delighted to bring Rachel to West Ham. The opportunity to have a proven England international in our squad on a short-term deal was too good of an opportunity to pass up."
Daly has featured regularly for England under Phil Neville and is often used as a back-up for Lucy Bronze at right-back. But she joins West Ham with versatility, often playing further forward as a right winger or No9 for Houston Dash.
The Australia full-back with 82 caps joins Arsenal from Melbourne City and brings extensive experience as well as an attack-minded approach. "We're privileged to have Steph at the club," said Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro. "She suits our fluidity and she's very good in a positional sense, but more importantly she's very effective going forwards."
Sanderson also told The Women's Football Show: "She's a fantastic full-back; if she can stay injury-free, she's going to be fantastic for Arsenal and for the league."
The France forward has swapped Montpellier for Everton, with Toffees boss Willie Kirk hailing the 24-year-old as a "real coup and a sign of our ambition". Valerie Gauvin, who has signed a three-year-deal on Merseyside, scored 14 goals in 16 league appearances during curtailed the 2019-20 season.
Sky Sports News will bring you updates from Women's Deadline Day throughout the day, with the latest potential moves and analysis.
If you are on the go, keep up with all the latest in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports' digital platforms. The domestic window will close at 5pm while the international window closes at midnight.