WSL Transfer Window Round Up: Best Business, Most Underrated Signing & More

Lucy Bronze
Lucy Bronze is one of numerous huge signings in the WSL this summer | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

The Women's Super League summer transfer window has finally closed after a breathless couple of months.

From big names returning to World Cup winners arriving, the signings have got more high profile, exciting and quite frankly ridiculous with each passing day.

Let's take a look at the highlights from the historic 2020 WSL summer transfer window.

1. Best Signing - Pernille Harder, Chelsea

Pernille Harder
Harder showed her quality with a goal and assist against Bristol City | James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

There's some real stiff competition for this one given the calibre of player that has arrived in the WSL this summer and what each signing represents to each team.

But objectively the two best players signed during the window were Pernille Harder for Chelsea and Rose Lavelle for Manchester City - two of the very finest players in world football.

Lavelle signed a one-year deal while Harder committed herself to a three-year contract, so the Chelsea forward takes it.

2. Most Underrated Signing - Steph Catley, Arsenal

Steph Catley
Arsenal needed to bring in defensive reinforcements in the summer, and have done just that | Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

The Gunners have had their transfer business somewhat overshadowed by Chelsea and Manchester City, and were largely disregarded in the title race as a result before a ball had been kicked - despite landing the woman widely regarded as the best attacking left back in the world in Steph Catley.

Maybe Catley hasn't got the hype she deserves because she's not a World Cup winner or because she's only a fullback - either way, she should be lauded as a fantastic capture for Arsenal.

Honourable mentions go to Manchester City's signing of 2019/20 breakthrough star Chloe Kelly, Chelsea recruiting German international Melanie Leupolz and Brighton bringing in highly rated forward Denise O'Sullivan.

3. Best Young Signing - Alessia Russo, Manchester United

Alessia Russo
Russo is a terrific signing for United | Alika Jenner/Getty Images

United signed a flurry of attacking talent in the transfer window, but the one fans should really be getting excited about is Alessia Russo.

Russo spent three years with the prestigious North Carolina Tar Heels, has already been capped at senior international level and is one of the best young talents breaking through in England. For United to secure her services on a long-term deal (for women's football standards) is huge for the Red Devils.

Honourable mentions go to Arsenal's addition of Russo's former Heels teammate Lotte Wubben-Moy, and Chelsea's capture of the tricky Niamh Charles.

4. Most Outrageous Signing - Alex Morgan, Tottenham

Alex Morgan
Players don't come more high profile than Alex Morgan | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

In 2017, Tottenham were playing in the third tier of English football. In 2020, they've signed arguably the most high profile player in the history of women's football.

Alex Morgan has won two World Cups, Olympic gold and has scored 107 goals for her country.

But the forward is more than her medals. Morgan is a brand, a symbol, an icon. She has over nine million Instagram followers for crying out loud. The official Tottenham men's page? Just the eight and a half.

It's a bit like Sheffield United signing Cristiano Ronaldo.

5. Biggest Coup - Jess Fishlock, Reading

Saki Kumagai, Jessica Fishlock
Fara Williams + Jess Fishlock makes for a pretty enviable Reading midfield | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Reading were one of a number of sides to raid the NWSL for players after the league season was shortened due to coronavirus.

The Royals have landed a player of world class quality and with WSL experience to boot in Jess Fishlock - a Wales centurion and Champions League winner.

The midfielder was nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award last time she was in the WSL, and is one of the most high-profile players to ever join Reading.

6. Worst Kept Secret - Lucy Bronze, Manchester City

Lucy Bronze
Bronze had been linked with a return to City for months | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

News that Manchester City were poised to sign Lucy Bronze first broke at the very start of July - but supporters were made to wait until September until her comeback was officially announced.

She won the Champions League with Lyon and confirmed that she was leaving to return to England. But come the opening weekend of the WSL, there was still no sign of Bronze. Was there actually no truth in the transfer rumour?

The right back was eventually unveiled three days later, but what she was up to between the Champions League final and the start of the WSL season remains a mystery. Walking her dog? Did she have a good book on the go? Binging All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur?

Your guess is as good as mine.

7. Best Overall Club Business - Manchester United

Tobin Heath, Christen Press
Press and Heath are huge signings for United | Alex Grimm/Getty Images

The Red Devils have demonstrated their ambitions to go up a level this season and mix it with the WSL's big three following their business in the transfer window.

Defensively they were up there with the best last season, but it was their ability to find the net that produced a 13-point gap between themselves and Arsenal. United have addressed their slight lack of attacking potency - and then some.

They've brought in double World Cup-winning duo Christen Press and Tobin Heath, two of the USA's front three from their 2019 semi final victory over England. The Red Devis have also signed Alessia Russo - who will be top class today and for the next 10 years, and the outstanding Lucy Staniforth. And United managed a draw with the defending champions without their four new attacking signings. The gap is closing...

8. Most Underrated Club Business - Everton

International Friendly"Women: France v The Netherlands"
Valérie Gauvin is a big signing for Everton | ANP Sport/Getty Images

Manchester United have been tipped to be the team to close the gap on the big three, but Everton's transfer business suggests they have ambitions of doing the same.

The Toffees made a couple of superb signings in January by bringing in Izzy Christiansen and Hayley Raso, and followed this up with the a selection of shrewd additions this summer.

Prolific French forward Valérie Gauvin and Claire Emslie from Orlando Pride are arguably the headline arrivals, but fullback Poppy Pattinson and Danish internationals Rikke Sevecke and Nicoline Sorensen are excellent long-term acquisitions too.