90min
Women's Football

The WSL's elite should be queuing up to sign Ebony Salmon in the summer

Ali Rampling
Salmon would be a shrewd bit of business for any one of the WSL's top sides
Salmon would be a shrewd bit of business for any one of the WSL's top sides / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
facebooktwitterreddit

In the summer of 2019, Ebony Salmon was released by Manchester United having failed to make a single appearance for the club.

In the 18 months since the Red Devils let her go, no United player has scored more WSL goals than Salmon has for Bristol City.

The forward has netted 10 time for the Robins in 28 league appearances - all the more impressive considering this is in a struggling Bristol side who have won just three matches in the last season and a half. The Robins have scored 19 league goals over the course of the last 18 months - Salmon has been responsible for 53% of them.

Salmon is Bristol City's talisman
Salmon is Bristol City's talisman / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

One of her five league goals during the 2019/20 campaign came against her former employers Manchester United; turning Abbie McManus and accelerating away from the United defender with her trademark burst of pace, before finishing through the legs of Mary Earps from a tight angle. It was classic Salmon; the electric speed followed by the ice cool composure.

The goal sealed a surprise 1-0 win over the Red Devils, one of two league victories Bristol registered all season. Salmon netted the winner on both occasions. The Robins narrowly avoided relegation by virtue of points per game during the 2019/20 campaign. Without Salmon's goals, they would likely be playing second tier football right now.

The 20-year-old striker's form has continued this season with a further five league goals, plus a Continental Cup quarter final brace against Aston Villa. She has been rewarded with her maiden senior England call up in February in place of Nikita Parris, with the Lyon striker unable to travel back to the UK from France due to quarantine regulations. It is a huge vote of confidence in the youngster given the small squad named by interim boss Hege Riise, and the attacking talent not selected.

It is not just England who should have Salmon on their radar. The Aston Villa academy product's contract with the Robins expires at the end of the 2020/21 season, and she should be being targeted by the very best sides in the WSL.

Salmon only turned 20 in January, but has demonstrated incredible maturity and resilience during her maiden two seasons in the WSL. To lead the line alone in the top flight as a teenager is hugely impressive, but to do so for a side that is routinely on the receiving end of some humblings requires real mental strength.

Since she joined the club, Bristol have been beaten 11-1 by Arsenal, 6-1 and 9-0 by Chelsea, 8-1 by Manchester City and 6-1 by Manchester United. This could be completely demoralising and utterly frustrating as a forward, watching from the halfway line, hardly getting a sniff as your team gets dismantled.

However, Salmon's confidence in front of goal has remained sky high. She would be an asset for any side in the WSL.

Manchester City have just one out-and-out striker in the shape of Ellen White - who is a completely different type of player to Salmon. The 20-year-old could offer the Citizens another dimension in attack. City have a proud history of bringing through the best, young English talent, with Lauren Hemp making the journey from Bristol to the blue half of Manchester in 2018. She has since gone on to establish herself as one of the most exciting players in the league and a fully fledged England international.

Arsenal may have to enter the marked for another striker should there be any truth in the rumours linking Vivianne Miedema with a move to European giants Lyon. Her contract expires in 2022, and the Gunners could do with an injection of excitement to spark them back into life.

Rivals Chelsea already have a stacked forward line, but they also have a habit of planning for the future and hoovering up the best young talent on offer, most recently 21-year-old Niamh Charles and 22-year-old Jessie Fleming.

Having been prolific in front of goal in a Bristol City side that has struggled the entire time she has been there, one can only imagine the damage Salmon could cause at a top WSL outfit.


facebooktwitterreddit