WSL Preview: Everton

It is that time of year again that strikes fear into the  heart of every football fan. That’s right folks the transfer window is open! Well actually it has been open for a while but now the World Cup is over we can get excited about it, or run and head under the bed in dread. However you wish to deal with it.

Transfer Window definition. Noun: a period of time where your club can get rid of deadwood and bring in fresh new talent.

Actual definition: your club makes some dicey new signings in a panic on the final day and you pray they don’t get rid of the players who name is on your new £80 shirt. (standard practice for West Ham’s men’s team until recently).

In the Women’s league, it can be a little less dramatic, though ask any Birmingham City fans if their window has been smooth sailing. The response may result in you getting hit in the face with a pikelet. {Pikelet -Noun: – A crumpet or crumpet-like bread in areas of Great Britain}

Unlike in the male leagues, our players in our league don’t move around for the big bucks. Spoiler alert, it’s because there isn’t any. Players move for other prized aspects of the game instead: Game time, fellow teammates, playing for the club you’ve always supported or the prestige of playing European football.

The point of this post is to run down what the In’s and Outs, and how all this is going to shake up the league. Next up is Everton

The Toffees had a close call last season and it was only by the grace of God they remained in the top flight. That, and Yeovil’s financial problems which caused them to be docked points and expelled to two leagues lower.

Everton was once home to great players such as Jill Scott, Toni Duggan and Rachel Brown. In recent years they have cemented their status as a mid-table team that has had the buffer of much worse teams or better yet no threat of relegation.

The biggest piece of business Everton has done is Dutch player Kika Van Es from Ajax. A member of the second-placed Netherlands team in this year’s World Cup, the defender is a class signing for the Merseyside Blues. Her experience both in the World Cup and the Euros in 2017 makes her a player of quality like the Blues of yesteryear. In typical Everton style however, a knee complaint aggravated in the World Cup has led to surgery and recovery, thus making her unavailable for the first part of the upcoming season. Let’s hope she will actually strengthen the team when she’s back and not be their last hope to get out of a relegation fight.

Maéva Clémaron was the Toffees next big International signing. The French midfielder has spent most of her career in the French top division with AS Saint-Étienne and FC Fleury 91, and is skilled enough to be picked for this year French national squad. Clémaron is a pacey midfielder who could provide the missing link that Everton has needed.

As touched upon before, Lucy Graham has moved over to the Blues from Bristol. Having extensive experience in the league she has been brought in to bolster a very young Everton midfield. The average age of the Blues’ squad being just 21 (yes I did actually do the maths) Willie Kirk is going to hope that Graham can bring a calm head to a youthfully exuberant team. Although she’s only 22 herself, she has 6 years of top-flight football under her belt.  Adding 18-year-old Molly Pike (an untapped and underused talent at Chelsea last year) is not adding much to that average squad age, but we hope she will flourish under Kirk as she failed to under Hayes.

Adding a little experience and maturity to the squad is the new goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela. The Finn has played in the Nordic leagues and has just completed a three-year stint at Bayern Munich. Yes, dear reader, I am as surprised as you! Korpela unlike so many other ex-Munich players is not on her way to Borehamwood – maybe it’s’ because she had a season at Vålerenga that put Arsenal off the scent.  The Gunners’ loss is the Toffees’ gain and the former Finland number one will hopefully be able to plug the goal leak which Everton sprung last season.

In terms of outs, Everton has had some sizeable losses with two internationals moving away from Southport.

Siri Worm has played for the Merseyside Blues for the last two seasons in defence. Another Dutch international (our league is rather full of them), she has been solid for the Blues despite their league positioning. She has now moved over to the newly-promoted and highly-ambitious Tottenham Hotspur. You get the feeling that Worm (who was standby for the recent runners-up squad in this years World Cup) is hoping the North London club will be slightly more ambitious then Everton.

The second loss is the Welsh International Angharad James, another young player with a vast wealth of experience. Having been played in the WSL for the last nine years for various teams, James is a tactical midfielder which means she should slot in well with the already well-seasoned players at Reading. The 25-year-old swaps the seaside for an industrial estate in High Wycombe. Let’s hope a higher league position is worth the slightly less aesthetically-pleasing surroundings.

Another dragon is swapping one coast for another (well, sort of) with Emily Jones moving to Lewes. Having been spotted by the Lewes coach when they were involved at Everton, some first-team football appears to be now guaranteed. Becky Flaherty, Everton’s second goal keeper also takes a step down a league. Flaherty is now at Sheffield United after not once donning the gloves for the Toffees, the Blades having been in need of a shot stopper after selling Alex Brooks last season to Birmingham.

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