More stories

  • in

    Lauren James rejoins Chelsea in transfer from Man Utd and is delighted to ‘come back home’

    LAUREN JAMES sealed a fairytale return to WSL champions Chelsea having played for the club’s Under-10s and Under-14s sides during her childhood. The ex-Man United starlet, who is the sister of the Blues Prem full-back Reece James, confirmed her move following weeks of speculation.
    Lauren James has joined WSL giants Chelsea on a four-year dealCredit: Getty
    Lauren James’ brother Reece currently plays as a full-back from Chelsea’s Premier League sideCredit: PA
    And the move will see the siblings become the only brother and sister duo to play for Chelsea next season.
    James, 19, who made her senior professional debut at Arsenal at 16, has agreed to a four-year deal with Emma Hayes’ side.  
    Reports claim Man United received an undisclosed fee of £50,000 for the WSL ace.
    And it is thought the payment is the highest the Leigh Park Village side have ever received for a female player. 
    James’ switch to Kingsmeadow comes on a day that saw Chelsea veteran Hannah Blundell unveiled as Manchester United Women’s newest summer signing. 
    The Sussex-born left-back, 27, has switched to the Red Devils on a two-year deal with an option to extend for a further year. 
    On her Chelsea move, London-born James said: “It’s a great feeling to come back home, to a great club, the club I started at the age of six. 
    “To be able to play for the first team now and come back here to Emma and the rest of the group is a good feeling.
    “I’m excited to get started and I can’t wait to meet all the fans at Kingsmeadow when the new season kicks in.’
    Blues boss Emma Hayes added: “Lauren is an exciting, young talent who we have admired for a while.
    “When the opportunity came up to sign her, we felt now was the right time to bring her back to the club.
    “We’re excited to see how she develops in the coming years and look forward to welcoming her to pre-season training.”

    James touted as a player to watch by Uefa, netted 22 goals in 45 appearances across all competitions during her three-season United spell from 2018 to 2021. 
    Her strikes include the first-ever goal scored for the Red Devils in  Women’s Super League during their first season in the top-flight. 
    The forward, whose brother won a Champions League trophy with Chelsea’s men’s side last term, received her first senior call-up to an England camp in November 2020.

    However, the club was narrowly pipped to a qualifying spot by Arsenal last season.  
    The unveiling of James as Chelsea’s latest signing comes on the same day as the announcement of next term’s WSL fixtures. 
    The striker is set to wear the club’s number 19 shirt.
    And the Blues face a tantalising season-opening London derby clash with Arsenal with the match taking place from September 3 to September 5.
    Dream Team 2021/22PLAY DREAM TEAM FOR THE 2021/22 SEASON!

    £100,000 in prize money up for grabs
    £50million budget to build your best XI
    Play in Mini Leagues against your mates, colleagues, etc
    Click here to play for FREE
    Dream Team app available through Apple Store and Google Play Store

    Emma Hayes extends Chelsea reign with Women’s Super League champions confirming new contract More

  • in

    WSL fixtures for 2021-22 season released as defending champions Chelsea begin campaign away at Arsenal

    CHELSEA mount their bid to retain their Women’s Super League crown with a clash at Arsenal on the first weekend of the 2021-22 season. And WSL newbies Leicester City take on Aston Villa in what will be the Bescot Stadium’s side’s first league game under new boss Carla Ward. 
    Chelsea will take on Arsenal away in their opening game of the new WSL seasonCredit: PA
    The first games of the new WSL term are set to take place from September 3 to 5.
    Season-opening clashes in the Women’s Championship will take place from August 28 to 29. 
    Matches include a duel between Liverpool and London City Lionesses.
    Chelsea, who lost just once in the top-flight last season, face a tricky opening run of games with home and away duels with Everton and Man United following their trip to the Gunners. 
    And Emma Hayes Blues will then take on Hope Powell’s Brighton who were the only team to beat them in the top tier last term.
    Everton, who harbour hopes of qualifying for the Champions League, will face Manchester City at home in their first game of the season. 
    And Brighton, who have signed former Gunners and Reading striker Danielle Carter, will host West Ham.
    Elsewhere Manchester United and Tottenham will play their first matches of the season at home against Reading and Birmingham City. 
    WSL champs Chelsea and title rivals Manchester City are due to go head-to-head between November 12 and 14. 
    And Carla Ward’s Aston Villa will take on her former club Birmingham in the first Second City derby of the season within that timeframe. 
    A month beforehand Jonathan Morgan and his Leicester City side will travel to Chelsea for their first encounter with title-holders Chelsea. 
    That clash is scheduled around October 8 to 10. 
    And the final day of the 2021-2022 season will see Chelsea, who signed Lauren James, host the striker’s former side Manchester United. 
    It is a match that could see former Blues defender Hannah Blundell – who has switched to United on a two-year deal – go up against her old club.  
    This season will see WSL games broadcast live on the BBC and Sky Sports as part of a landmark three-year broadcast deal reported to be worth £7million to £8million a season. 
    The BBC is set to air 22 live games with a minimum of 18 shown on BBC One or BBC Two. 
    Meanwhile, Sky Sports are expected to cover up to 44 matches on their Main Event, Premier League and Sky Sports Football Channels. 
    Leicester will take on Aston Villa in their first game in the WSLCredit: Rex

    Kelly Simmons, the FA’s Women’s Game director said: “A lot of work has gone into preparing for this season and I think it is this year people will see just how far the women’s game has come. 
    “This season will see record levels of exposure and audiences as a result of our exciting new partnership with Sky Sports and the BBC.
    “I cannot wait to see our elite athletes showcasing their talent to the nation.”
    Opening Women’s Super League games
    3-5 September

    Arsenal vs Chelsea
    Aston Villa vs Leicester City
    Brighton vs West Ham
    Everton vs Manchester City
    Manchester United vs Reading
    Tottenham vs Birmingham City

    Emma Hayes gets stuck into Chelsea training More

  • in

    Orlando Pride boss Marc Skinner linked with vacant Manchester United Women’s job

    MANCHESTER UNITED are reportedly aiming to hire Marc Skinner as the gaffer of their Women’s Super League side. Telegraph Sport claims the Red Devils are in talks with the Orlando Pride head coach who is thought to be a top target to replace Casey Stoney. 
    Marc Skinner is reported to be in talks regard to Manchester United Women’s manager jobDream Team 2021/22PLAY DREAM TEAM FOR THE 2021/22 SEASON!

    The ex-United Women’s manager left the club at the end of last term after three seasons in charge and having steered the side to fourth in the WSL
    Stoney, who led United to WSL promotion for the first time in their history in 2019, has since become head coach of US women’s side San Diego.  
    Skinner, 38, is under contract with the Pride who are fifth in a National Women’s Soccer League made up of ten teams. 
    And the former Birmingham boss has been in his current role since swapping Blues for a move to US women’s football in January 2019. 
    The Telegraph claims a deal between Skinner and the Red Devils is far off with discussions between the two parties thought to be ongoing.  
    However, it is reported United players, dismayed by Stoney’s departure, are keen on the possibility of having the coach in charge at Leigh Park Village. 
    Skinner, who earned plaudits for revamping Birmingham’s style of play, led Blues to the Women’s FA Cup final in 2017. 
    And the Midlands side were beaten 4-1 by eventual contest winners Man City after dispatching Chelsea in the semis. 
    Skinner’s current club, whose stars include Brazil icon Marta and World Cup-winning striker Alex Morgan, have won four, drawn four and lost three of 11 games played this term.
    And the Pride have recently added former United centre-back Amy Turner and ex-Arsenal and Lyon forward Jodie Taylor to their ranks. 
    This week the Red Devils announced the signing of Norway international Vilde Bøe Risa on a two-year deal. 
    The acquisition of the midfielder, who began her senior career at Norwegian side Arna-Bjørnar in 2012, appears to have gone down well with United fans on social media. 
    The  26-year-old has 37 international caps and helped Norway reach the Women’s World Cup quarter-finals in 2019 where they were beaten by England. 
    And the player was part of the Goteborg team who won Sweden’s top-flight title in 2020. 
    Bøe Risa said: “I’m happy to be here, at such a big club that I have grown up supporting. 
    Skinner is currently in charge of an Orlando Pride side which includes Brazil legend Marta

    “Manchester United is huge in Norway so to be able to come here and play for the team now is a dream come true. 
    “I am really looking forward to playing in the WSL and I want to help the team as much as I can in qualifying for the Champions League. 
    I’m also excited to get to know my new teammates, and of course, I hope I can see the fans in the stadium soon too.”
    Vilde Bøe Risa has become Manchester United Women’s latest summer signingCredit: Getty
    Man Utd up their game in pre-season training More

  • in

    Adidas forced to issue grovelling apology to Man Utd star Millie Turner after getting her name wrong

    ADIDAS has apologised to Manchester United ace Millie Turner following an embarrassing mix-up with its new kit advert. A screenshot of the ad shared on Twitter features a picture of the Red Devils’ centre-back with a caption that refers to her as Amy Turner rather than her actual first name. 
    Adidas has apologised to Millie Turner following an error with her name in the sports firm’s United kit advertCredit: Getty

    And the former Everton and Bristol City ace – who is also an Adidas athlete – shared her bemused thoughts on the mistake.
    The advert which showcases Man United’s new kit has been shared more than 18,000 times on Twitter. 
    Turner, who began her career as a Red Devils youth player, has been with the side since 2018 following stints with the Toffees and the Robins.
    In a tweet to 32,000 of her followers, the 25-year-old wrote: “Considering I’ve been at Manchester United for years and an Adidas athlete for two… you’d like to think Adidas would get my name right.”
    The WSL star’s thoughts were echoed by her Leigh Sports Village team-mate Abbie McManus, 28,  who spent the second half of last season on loan at Tottenham.
    And the defender suggested the mix-up would never have occurred with a player in United’s Premier League side adding a hashtag with the name ‘Peter Pogba’ in her post.
    It is thought Adidas may have confused the Cheshire-born Women’s Super League star with her former colleague Amy Turner who left the Red Devils at the end of last season after a four-year spell. 
    The defender moved to Orlando Pride, the team of former Tottenham loanee Alex Morgan, on a two-year deal in June. 
    In a public apology shared on Twitter Adidas offered to make amends by giving shirts to Turner’s fans. 
    The sports brand said: “Millie, we messed up and we’re gutted. 
    “You’re part of the Adidas family and we want to make amends. 
    “Let’s get some new shirts out to your biggest fans. Let us know who and we’ll deliver.”

    Meanwhile Man United are reportedly close to appointing a new manager for its WSL side to replace former boss Casey Stoney. 
    The ex-United gaffer was announced as the new head coach of the US club and National Women’s Soccer League side San Diego this week. 
    And BBC Sport reports the Red Devils are close to finalising the contract details for Stoney’s replacement ahead of the new WSL season. 
    Man United are set to appoint a new head coach following Casey Stoney’s departure last seasonCredit: Rex
    Hundreds leave messages of support after Marcus Rashford’s mural is defaced More

  • in

    Chelsea sign Reece James’ sister Lauren from Manchester United ‘for WSL record transfer fee of £300k’

    CHELSEA WOMEN are reportedly closing in on the signing of Manchester United’s Lauren James for a WSL record £300,000.The forward, 19, is the younger sister of Chelsea and England men’s star Reece.
    Lauren James will join elder brother Reece at Chelsea with the Blues closing in on a WSL record move for the teenager from Man UtdCredit: Getty
    The Blues will pay an initial fee of £200,000 that will be increased by an extra £100k in add-ons, according to The Athletic.
    They also claim that James passed her medical at Kingsmeadow on Tuesday with the deal set to be finalised within 48 hours.
    Some reports suggest there could be another player heading to United as part of the deal but that is yet to be confirmed.
    One of the main reasons James decided to join Emma Hayes’ WSL title winners is to be closer to Reece, according to Sky Sports.
    The pair will now become the only brother-sister duo to be the same club in the Premier League and the WSL.
    The Blues have been heavily-linked with a move for the teenage starlet in recent months.
    They had even mistakenly added her name to their kit list for the up-coming season, sending fans into a frenzy.
    Supporters were given the option to buy her shirt emblazoned with the No 24, although it turned out to be a mishap.

    Despite Chelsea’s error, they had been reportedly trying to make the deal happen but couldn’t agree on a price with United.
    However, Hayes’ persistence paid off and now the Blues have got their target.
    The WSL winners be hoping James’ firepower can help them win the elusive Champions League trophy – which they missed out on after a 4-0 drubbing from Barcelona last season.

    Since joining United from Arsenal in 2017, James has been prolific in front of goal.
    In her first season with the Red Devils, she scored 14 goals as they gained promotion to the WSL.
    But injury hampered her progress last season and James only managed to score twice in 10 league appearances.
    Emma Hayes extends Chelsea reign with Women’s Super League champions confirming new contract More

  • in

    Former Barcelona skipper and Arsenal ace Vicky Losada signs for WSL giants Man City

    VICKY LOSADA has joined Manchester City on a two-year deal two months after helping Barcelona trounce Chelsea in the Women’s Champions League finals. And the Spain star’s transfer will see her return for a second spell in England’s top-flight after a trophy-winning stint at Arsenal. 
    Vicky Losada has become Man City’s latest summer signing following the club’s swoop for Khadija ShawCredit: Reuters
    Losada will wear Man City’s number 17 shirtCredit: PA
    The midfielder’s contract with Gareth Taylor’s side  – who finished second in the WSL last term – will see her stay at City until the summer of 2023.
    It also ends months of speculation linking the LaLiga Women’s ace with a move to the club.
    And the former Barca skipper is thrilled to be returning to competition in England which she admits to having missed. 
    Losada said:  “As soon as I had the offer from Manchester City, I didn’t have any doubts about it – I knew that it was time to leave Barcelona and close that chapter of my career after one of the best years of my life. 
    “I’ve always said that I missed the English league – I feel like it brings out the best in me as a player. 
    “I am so excited to return to it now and be a part of this fantastic football club.” 
    Losada, who began her senior professional career at Barcelona in 2006, has won 23 major trophies with the queens of the women’s game in Spain.  
    Her silverware wins with the side – who are one of the most feared in Europe – includes six Women’s Primera Division titles and seven Copa de la Reinas.  
    The Terrassa-born player registered her first major trophy win in Europe after Barca’s 4-0 Champions League defeat of Chelsea. 
    And her side knocked out City in the contest’s quarter-finals with a 4-2 aggregate win over two-legs.
    The ex-Johan Cruyff Stadium captain led her old club on a storming run in Spain’s top-flight last term with the team netting 167 goals in 34 games. 
    Losada led Barcelona to a 2020 Women’s Champions League trophy winCredit: Getty

    And the team lost just ONE match in Spain’s women’s top tier last term. 
    City head coach Gareth Taylor said: “She is a player who has enjoyed an incredible level of success throughout her career so far and we’re thrilled to have brought someone of her calibre to the Club. 
    “Her winning mentality and desire to be at the top of her game matches our own ethos here at City.
    “Vicky’s experience in high-pressure situations will also be very important to the team as a whole as we aim to lift more trophies in the near future.
    “The fact that she has already previously made her mark in the Women’s Super League speaks volumes about her adaptability.
    “We’re very much looking forward to working with her over the next few years.”
    Losada, who has 64 Spain international caps, has joined a Man City side who were narrowly beaten by rivals Chelsea to last term’s WSL crown. 
    Losada played for Arsenal in the Women’s Super League from 2015 to 2016Credit: Chelsea FC
    The midfield ace previously played for Arsenal in England’s top division from 2015-16
    And the player won a Women’s FA Cup and league cup before returning to Barcelona in 2016.
    Losada made 31 league appearances netting three goals for Barca last term.
    And the Spain international enjoyed loan spells with Espanyol from 2007 to 2008 and at US club Western New York 2014 during her 15-year career with Barca.
    Losada has 64 Spain international capsCredit: Rex
    Miralem Pjanic trains with Barcelona More

  • in

    England ace Parris opens up on ‘love’ of Arsenal icons Fleeting and Henry after Gunners confirm move

    NIKITA PARRIS says her admiration of Arsenal legends Julie Fleeting and Thierry Henry partly inspired her move to the Gunners.  The England forward has high expectations of the side who return to Women’s Champions League action next season. 
    Nikita Parris’ arrival at Arsenal will give their attacking ranks a massive boostCredit: Getty
    Parris netted 13 goals in 20 top-flight games in France last termCredit: Rex
    Parris, 27, was speaking to journalists after Arsenal confirmed her £68,600 club-record transfer following her two-year, trophy-laden spell with Lyon.
    And the pacy forward, who won a Champions League crown with the French juggernauts, reckons the competitive edge of England’s top-flight is a major draw.
    Parris said: “Just watching from abroad, the games are so much tighter and [there is] so much more talent spread across the teams. 
    “I’m not an Arsenal fan, but growing up I loved Julie Fleeting and Thierry Henry so I followed the team a lot. 
    “And when I spoke to Claire Wheatley [Arsenal Women’s Development manager] I thought let’s give it a go.  Let’s move to North London.”
    Parris, who was born in Toxteth, Liverpool, was the WSL’s all-time top scorer with 49 goals when she departed for France from Manchester City in 2019.
    The striker began her senior playing career in 2011 at Everton before embarking on three silverware-winning seasons at City from 2016 to 2019.
    At City, she won the Women’s Super League, two FA Cups and two WSL Cups.
    A 2020 Women’s Champions League and the Coupe De France Feminine were among the titles Parris won during her first season at Lyon. 


    Parris says she is proud to wear Arsenal’s number 14 jersey like Highbury icon Thierry HenryCredit: Getty

    I want to score goals and I want to make history in every team that I’m in. Nikita Parris
    This season, however, Lyon finished second in the league behind Paris Saint-Germain and were knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage by the same side.
    Paris is eager to reclaim the WSL’s top scorer crown currently held by her goal machine Gunners’ team-mate Vivianne Miedema. 
    And the Lionesses heroine will don Arsenal’s famous No 14 jersey, a shirt worn by club legend and lethal finisher Henry.  
    Parris said: “The 14 [shirt] speaks for itself because of Thierry Henry.
    “Growing up he was my role model and I had the pleasure of being interviewed by him.
    “Just being able to speak to him about Arsenal and about football, it’s crazy how much our similarities and thought processes align, so the 14 shirt felt right.
    “The goalscoring record is always on the top of my mind. I’m a striker and I want to score goals and I want to make history in every team that I’m in. 
    “I want to leave a mark and if I can leave a mark at Arsenal and in the WSL at the same time, let’s go for it.” 
    The former Man City ace is one two big-name Arsenal signings with Mana Iwabuchi joining the club this summerCredit: Getty
    There’s a lot of quality in the Arsenal squad and a lot of experience with Kim Little, Jennifer Beatty, Leah Williamson and Vivianne Miedema
    Parris’s Arsenal switch comes as the club’s first opponents in their Champions League were announced.
    And the Borehamwood side, who appointed Jonas Eidevall as their new boss, will travel to Kazakhstan to face Okzhetpes. 
    Paris is looking forward to battling for Europe’s top football prize and major domestic honours with skipper Kim Little and centre-back Leah Williamson – who she affectionately calls a “Highbury queen”.
    The former Toffees ace added: “There’s a lot of quality in the Arsenal squad and a lot of experience with Kim Little, Jennifer Beatty, Leah Williamson and Vivianne Miedema.
    Parris is an admirer of the prolific former Scotland and Arsenal Ladies striker Julie FleetingCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd
    “These are players who’ve played in big games and have a lot of experience internationally and at club level.  
    “I’m looking forward to learning from them also. 
    “I’m not the finished article, and I don’t believe I will be in the next three years.
    “I just believe each and every day, I’ll progress and be better and hopefully I can help them and they can help me.”
    Luke Shaw ‘loves’ Bukayo Saka and says he would love Arsenal ace to be his child More

  • in

    Emma Hayes extends Chelsea reign with Women’s Super League champions confirming new contract for Blues boss

    CHELSEA confirmed Emma Hayes’ tenure as their women’s team manager will continue with the Kingsmeadow gaffer signing a new two-year contract. The deal will see Hayes extend her stint to 11 years in charge of the WSL juggernauts who notched up a fourth double trophy win last term.
    Emma Hayes has agreed to extend her nine-year spell at Chelsea for an extra two yearsCredit: Getty
    Hayes led Chelsea to their first ever Women’s Champions League final last termCredit: Reuters
    The announcement comes almost two months after the London club reached their first ever Women’s Champions League final, where they were beaten by Barcelona.
    And it will be welcome news for Chelsea fans who have witnessed their club become the most successful WSL side since the division was established ten years ago. 
    Hayes, who took up the reins at Kingsmeadow in 2012, has led the Blues to 10 major trophy wins.
    These include four WSL titles, two Women’s FA Cups and two Continental trophies, including this year’s league cup. 
    On her new contract, the Camden-born gaffer said: “Everyone knows what this club means to me. 
    “The work we’ve done together over the last nine years has been hugely rewarding, full of growth of the women’s game, accompanied with winning, which is one of the club’s key values. 
    “I really look forward to keep building on the successes we’ve already achieved and I’m delighted to have extended further.
    “It’s been a year and a half without fans, so I can’t wait to welcome them back to our home and share with them the wonderful team we’ve built together.” 
    Blues director Marina Granovskaia added: “We are delighted Emma has committed to stay at Chelsea.
    “History speaks for itself, and we are really proud of what she has achieved in the past nine years, not just at the club, but also for the growth of the women’s game. 
    “It is phenomenal and a real credit to Emma for her continued passion, hard work and dedication to the sport.”
    Hayes, who grew up in North London, started her football management journey in 2001 at US women’s club Long Island Lady Riders.
    The Blues chief went on to work as head coach of university side Iona College from 2003 to 2006. 
    And this was followed by a trophy-laden two-year spell at Arsenal Ladies as an assistant and academy director during the reign of legendary boss Vic Akers. 
    Hayes would join Chelsea in 2012 following another two-year stint in US women’s football managing Chicago Redstars. 
    Chelsea have won four back-to-back titles in six years under HayesCredit: Getty

    And she would lead the side to their first Women’s FA Cup and league title win in 2015 and four back-to-back WSL crowns in six seasons. 
    Chelsea, who embarked on the Women’s Super League’s longest unbeaten run – going 33 games undefeated – are targeting their first major trophy win in Europe next term. 
    The Blues will be competing in the Champions League alongside domestic rivals Man City and Arsenal. 
    Billy Gilmour joins Norwich on season-long loan from Chelsea More