Summer transfer window: Grading big signings in women’s soccer

Transfer records were broken across the women’s game in 2023-24 as Women’s Super League (WSL) saw 226 transfers — a higher level of activity than each of the previous three seasons, according to Deloitte.

There were some pretty big deals as well, as Mayra Ramirez’s €450,000 January move to Chelsea from Levante broke the women’s transfer world record, before NWSL side Bay FC paid Madrid CFF €735,000 to bring in Racheal Kundananji in February.

Kundananji’s move came after a January transfer window that had seen international spending in the women’s game reach an all-time high, according to FIFA, with clubs around the world collectively trading approximately €1.96m in transfer fees — which roughly equates to a 150% rise from the winter of 2023.

So will that continue? Here are grades for all the major confirmed transfers in the women’s game, with each listed in order of date and then highest fee.

All fees are reported unless confirmed with an asterisk (*).

July 1

VfL Wolfsburg: B
Barcelona: A

After a forgettable season, this summer is providing little respite for Wolfsburg and, although they landed €500,000, Pajor had been a key figure (much like Oberdorf) during her time in Lower Saxony and her goals (136 in 196 appearances) will be hard to replace.

Amid rising transfer fees, women’s football is starting to follow the pattern of the men’s game, with goal scorers usually the players who go for more. And even though Pajor’s reported release clause would have been barely thinkable a few years ago, Barcelona will feel they’ve got a good deal. A natural goal scorer who fulfils their greatest need, the Poland international comes in with key experience and will undoubtedly pay her transfer fee back in goals. — SL

VfL Wolfsburg: C
Bayern Munich: A+

Signed from SGS Essen four years ago, Oberdorf quickly became an intrinsic part of the Wolfsburg squad, established herself in the Germany national team and marked herself as one of the best players of her generation. Although although Wolfsburg have received a decent fee, losing Oberdorf to their biggest domestic rivals will take a long time to get over.

Oberdorf’s move to Bayern looks set to tip the scales in Germany firmly in favour of the Bavarians and they got her for an absolute steal. Although €450,000 is a huge fee in women’s football, the midfielder is 22 years old with a sky-high ceiling, so there is little question Bayern got a great deal by activating her release clause. — SL

Manchester United: C

Earps’ decision over her future was always destined to be a high-profile topic of discussion. Last summer, WSL rivals Arsenal were prepared to pay a world-record fee to sign the 31-year-old England goalkeeper, but United refused to let her go. Now, as Alessia Russo did last summer, Earps has left on a free transfer.

United boss Marc Skinner not only loses a crucial player but also one who could have landed the biggest transfer fee, especially after her rise to fame following the Euros and World Cup. If she had stayed with United, it would have suggested the club’s internal issues were not as severe as they seemed. However, her departure only underscores the club’s struggle to retain key players now.

For PSG, Earps represents an incredible acquisition, especially on a free transfer. It also keeps Earps in Europe, meaning she is able to compete to retain her starting spot for England. Wanting to play in the Champions League and win silverware was a driving force for the goalkeeper, making it a mutually beneficial transfer. — EK

Barcelona: B-
Arsenal: A-

Mariona won it all with Barcelona: six Liga F titles, three Women’s Champions Leagues, six Spanish Cups, four Spanish Super Cups and six Catalan Cups. Oh, and a World Cup with Spain. At 28, after 302 appearances and 114 goals, a move away from Barcelona makes sense given she was with the club for a decade.

Arsenal are getting a proven winner who knows what it takes to be the best on both the domestic and international stage. Mariona would have had the pick of clubs but choosing Arsenal is a testament to their determination to win the WSL. Having bid farewell to Vivianne Miedema, Arsenal were in need of a goal scorer and now their forwards are all between 28-30 years old. Nonetheless, it is a great signing for the Gunners and a big loss for Barcelona. — EK

Manchester City: B
Real Madrid: A-

Having spent three years with City, it was not a big surprise that the Sweden international chose to make a change. While she has been a key player for manager Gareth Taylor, Angeldahl was not getting the game time she wanted, often dropping to the bench, so naturally when her contract expired, a move was on the cards.

The transfer frees up space for City to bring in another midfielder who better fits Taylor’s playing style, but it is a signing weighted towards the benefit of Real Madrid, who have already announced the departures of seven key players. — EK

Manchester City: B
Barcelona: B

Part of the Man City setup since 2015, Roebuck stepped up for the first team when needed in 2018, playing a vital role for for five years until falling out of favour last season. Now surplus to requirements, her contract was allowed to run down and saw her make a free transfer to Liga F.

Barcelona have taken a bit of a gamble on Roebuck, with the England goalkeeper not having featured since the 2022-23 season. She is likely to be an understudy to first-choice Cata Coll, but comes in with a point to prove and a hunger to impress. — SL

Juventus: B
Wolfsburg: A-

Having filled a role for Juventus during her time in Italy, Beerensteyn’s time in Serie A had naturally run its course and, having been signed on a free transfer, she left on one too.

It’s set to be a summer of change for Wolfsburg. With a number of younger players on their books, trying to replace the likes of Pajor and Overdorf is tough, so bringing in experienced attacker Beerensteyn is a step in the right direction. The Netherlands international already has experience of the Frauen-Bundesliga after five years at Bayern Munich. — SL