Women's Football

The biggest transfers at WSL clubs this winter

Jamie Spencer
USWNT centre-back Abby Dahlkemper has joined Man City
USWNT centre-back Abby Dahlkemper has joined Man City / Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The 2021 winter transfer window in the Women's Super League has closed, with plenty of big - and in some cases, surprising - transfers taking place across the division.

A handful of big names have the left the league altogether, while others have arrived from abroad. There has also been lots of movement between clubs within the WSL, making for an exciting second half of the season as players settle into new teams.

Here's a look at 16 of the biggest transfers, in or our, at WSL clubs this winter...

16. Kirsty Barton (Brighton to Crystal Palace)

Kirsty Barton has dropped into the Women's Championship
Kirsty Barton has dropped into the Women's Championship / Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images

Kirsty Barton spent 10 years with Brighton, playing a huge role in the Seagulls becoming a WSL club. But she has now gone on loan to Crystal Palace, who are mid-table in the Women's Championship.

15. Zecira Musovic (Rosengard to Chelsea)

Chelsea have added Swedish stopper Zecira Musovic to an already stacked goalkeeping department to provide competition and cover for experienced duo Ann-Katrin Berger and Carly Telford.

Musovic previously played for Damallsvenskan giants Rosengard and was a member of the Sweden squad that finished third at the 2019 World Cup.

14. Lotta Okvist (Man Utd to Kopparbergs/Goteborg)

Lotta Okvist has left Man Utd to return to Sweden
Lotta Okvist has left Man Utd to return to Sweden / Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

A lack of chances has seen Lotta Okvist leave Manchester United this month to head back to her native Sweden, where she joins reigning Damallsvenskan champions Kopparbergs/Goteborg.

Okvist was originally signed as a replacement for former United captain Alex Greenwood in 2019 but struggled to establish herself.

13. Rachel Corsie (Birmingham to Utah Royals/Kansas City)

Scotland star Rachel Corsie was helping Birmingham survive
Scotland star Rachel Corsie was helping Birmingham survive / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Birmingham looked destined for relegation in 2020/21, but Rachel Corsie joining on loan last summer is a big reason the Blues have stayed clear of danger. Her exit, earlier than anticipated, is therefore a big loss.

The Scotland defender was recalled by NWSL club Utah Royals, who have ceased operations and relocated to Kansas City ahead of the 2021 season.

12. Cho So-hyun (West Ham to Tottenham)

Tottenham have taken experienced South Korea international midfielder Cho So-hyun from West Ham on an initial loan, with an option for a permanent transfer at the end of the season.

Cho is 32 and has over international 120 caps to her name.

11. Anna Patten (unattached to Arsenal)

Arsenal have recaptured England Under-21 defender Anna Patten this month following her time playing college soccer in the United States.

Patten previously started her career with the Gunners but took the opportunity in 2017 to develop her career by attending Florida State University and then the University of South Carolina.

10. Maria Thorisdottir (Chelsea to Man Utd)

Manchester United have strengthened their defensive ranks by signing two-time WSL champion Maria Thorisdottir from title rivals Chelsea.

The Norway international had grown frustrated at Chelsea and the Blues thought it best to let her go, despite risking her improving a challenger.

9. Emily van Egmond (Orlando Pride to West Ham)

The permanent signing of Australia midfielder Emily van Egmond from Orlando Pride following an initial loan is a big boost for West Ham.

Van Egmond scored five times in all competitions for the Hammers in the first half of the season and is the club's joint leading goalscorer.

8. Dagny Brynjarsdottir (Sefloss to West Ham)

Dagny Brynjarsdottir is a statement signing for West Ham in what has been a fairly busy window of comings and goings this month.

The 29-year-old Iceland international is a goalscoring midfielder who won the NWSL championship with Portland Thorns in 2017. She has also played in Germany for Bayern Munich in the past.

7. Abbie McManus (Man Utd to Tottenham)

Tottenham have added a proven WSL player to the centre of their defence by landing England international Abbie McManus on loan from Mancester United until the end of the season.

McManus also formerly played for Manchester City, winning six major trophies, but had lost her place at United this season.

6. Mana Iwabuchi (INAC Kobe to Aston Villa)

Japan forward Mana Iwabuchi is a real statement of intent from Aston Villa in their first season as a WSL club as they look to pull away from the relegation zone and consolidate their place in the top flight.

Still only 27, Iwabuchi has played in two World Cup finals for Japan and has previously also played club football in Germany.

5. Rachel Daly (West Ham to Houston Dash)

England international Rachel Daly has gone back to the NWSL
England international Rachel Daly has gone back to the NWSL / James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

While landing the aforementioned Van Egmond on a permanent deal was a major boost for West Ham, losing England utility player Rachel Daly at the end of her loan is a big blow.

Daly scored five goals for the Hammers in all competitions but returns to parent club Houston Dash for the 2021 NWSL season.

4. Alisha Lehmann (West Ham to Everton)

In addition to losing Daly, West Ham have also decided to let Switzerland international Alisha Lehmann join Everton on loan for the rest of the season.

Lehmann has been at West Ham since 2018 when she was 19 and boosts an Everton side determined to keep pace with the top four. She featured prominently in the BBC series Squad Goals last year.

3. Jill Scott (Man City to Everton)

Jill Scott established herself as one of the best midfielders in the country during her first spell at Everton between 2006 and 2013 and is now, at the age of 33, back with the Toffees on loan until the summer.

Few players in the WSL can rival Scott for experience at the highest level, with nine club trophies to her name and 149 England caps.

2. Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage to Man City)

Manchester City completed the single biggest signing of any WSL club this winter when it was confirmed that USWNT defender Abby Dahlkemper had agreed to join from NWSL giants NC Courage on a multi-year deal.

Dahlkemper is one of the top centre-backs in the world and was an ever-present at the 2019 World Cup. She will link up with USWNT colleagues Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle at the Etihad Campus.

1. Alex Morgan (Tottenham to Orlando Pride)

Alex Morgan has left the WSL
Alex Morgan has left the WSL / Visionhaus/Getty Images

The transfer didn't come at the peak of her career, seeking a club in lieu of the NWSL calendar being obliterated by the coronavirus pandemic and just a few months after giving birth, but Alex Morgan is the single biggest name ever to grace the WSL thanks to her loan at Tottenham, which is now over.

WSL fans didn't see very much of Morgan, who opted to return to the United States, where her NWSL registration is still held by Orlando Pride. But despite only a handful of appearances, her presence put Spurs on the map in women's football and took WSL interest to a new level stateside.

The only disappointment is that the two-time World Cup winner didn't stay long enough to do more on the pitch. But her departure is understandable.

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