Chelsea have agreed a deal for Manchester United forward Lauren James, with a Blues player set to move in the opposite direction.
19-year-old James is one of the hottest prospects in women's football, netting eight WSL goals in 22 appearances over the last two seasons. She also has a host of England caps at youth level and it is only a matter of time until she is called up to the senior Lionesses side.
Chelsea have made several unsuccessful bids for James in the past, with United eager to retain her services. However, according to The Athletic, the two parties have finally reached an agreement. The transfer fee will be around £50,000, although this could rise with performance-related bonuses. A Blues players is also set to move in the other direction.
Chelsea have a host of attacking talent at their disposal at present. Boss Emma Hayes is blessed with the likes of Beth England, Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr, Pernille Harder and Erin Cuthbert. Of these players, England seems most likely to join United as she found herself behind Kerr and Kirby in the pecking order last season.
James is said to have been pushing for a move as it will offer her the chance to move back down south and be closer to her family. Her brother, Reece, plies his trade for Chelsea's men's side.
James' addition means the chasing pack have their work cut out catching Hayes' side next season, who won the 2021 WSL title by two points and also reached the final of the Champions League - before being humbled by Barcelona.
While Chelsea are on the up, United are in dire straits. They have yet to appoint a new manager following the departure of Casey Stoney and that is far from the only issue that needs rectifying.
Players are angry about the poor infrastructure, including substandard training facilities, terrible accommodation and more. As reported by the The Athletic, the players even considered a pre-season strike at one point to protest their shoddy treatment.
American imports Christen Press and Tobin Heath are among a host of players that have left and there is little indication that the club has targets in mind to replace them.