Chelsea Women have announced the long-expected capture of Australia forward Sam Kerr, who makes the switch to the Women’s Super League from Chicago Red Stars following the recent conclusion of the 2019 NWSL season.

Kerr has agreed a two-and-a-half year contract with Chelsea that will run until the end of the 2021/22 campaign. The transfer will be completed when the mid-season transfer window opens on 27 December, meaning the 26-year-old isn’t eligible to play just yet.

Kerr could therefore make her Chelsea debut in front of home supporters at Kingsmeadow on 5 January when Reading are the visitors in the WSL. Just two weeks later, Chelsea face Arsenal away in a huge game that could have significant title race ramifications.

The player will wear her favoured number 20 shirt as a Chelsea player. The jersey’s previous occupant, Jonna Andersson, will move to the number 25 instead.

Kerr, who scored five times at the 2019 Women’s World Cup for Australia, has been prolific in recent years. She averaged more than a goal per game for home town club Perth Glory, with whom she split her time between spells in Chicago, and is the NWSL all-time leading scorer.

Chelsea will now hope to reap the rewards of signing one of the best players in the world.

“The WSL is the best league in Europe. I want team success and I don’t want it to come easy. I feel Chelsea have been building something special over the years and I want to be a part of that – I want to lift some trophies,” Kerr told her new club’s official website.

Chelsea boss Emma Hayes said, “Sam has proved time and time again in the NWSL that she is a prolific goalscorer. She’s won the golden boot many times and she’s a player that can make things happen, but she’s also a fantastic team player.

Sam Kerr

“The fact she chose Chelsea when she could have gone to any club in the world is a testament to the players and the staff here because she saw this is the best place for her to grow and take the next step in her career. That’s a wonderful compliment to us all.”

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!