Fran Kirby has joined Brighton and Hove Albion on a free transfer following her departure from Chelsea.

The England international won five Women's Super League titles during her nine-year stint with the Blues, for whom she scored 108 goals in 195 appearances.

Brighton finished ninth in the WSL last season, and will certainly be boosted by Kirby's vast experience, having also been part of the triumphant Lionesses side at Euro 2022.

The 31-year-old is the Seagulls' third signing ahead of the 2024-25 campaign, after Japan striker Kiko Seike and Netherlands defender Marisa Olislagers.

"I'm a competitive person and I wanted to come to a club that matched my ambitions, to set high standards on and off the pitch, and to use my experience to help the young players develop," Kirby told the club's official website. 

"I want to help create a culture with a group of players who want amazing success.

"I wanted to stay in this league because I still want to be competing week in week out. And as long as I can help a team progress, that's what I want to do."

Arsenal have signed Barcelona's World Cup-winning forward Mariona Caldentey on a free transfer, following the departure of Vivianne Miedema.

The Gunners have been looking to strengthen their attacking options since announcing Miedema – the all-time leading scorer in the Women's Super League – would leave at the end of her contract. 

They have now swooped for Caldentey after she called time on her 10-year stint with Barcelona, for whom she made 302 appearances and scored 114 goals.

She scored 58 of those goals in the Spanish top flight, a tally only bettered by Asisat Oshoala (92), Alexia Putellas (80) and Jenni Hermoso (70) for Barcelona.

"I think what Arsenal are doing as a club is amazing – on and off the pitch," Caldentay, who helped Spain beat England in the 2023 World Cup final, told the club's website.

"It's been incredible to see what the club has done away from the pitch, with supporters following the team everywhere and lots of records being broken. 

"I can't wait to get started and help the team win trophies and entertain our supporters."

Mary Earps has left Manchester United ahead of her anticipated switch to Paris Saint-Germain.

Reports emerged earlier this week that the England goalkeeper, who won FIFA Best awards in 2022 and 2023, would be joining PSG upon the expiration of her contract with United.

Earps joined United in 2019 and has played a key role in their rise up to the upper echelons of the women's game, and helped the club win their first piece of silverware when they thrashed Tottenham in the women's FA Cup final in May.

However, the 31-year-old has turned down a contract offer from United and is now destined to head to France.

Official confirmation of Earps' departure came on Saturday.

She marks the third big name to leave United this off-season, following captain Katie Zelem and forward Lucia Garcia.

Earps made 125 appearances for United in all competitions.

She played in all 22 of United's WSL matches last season, making 60 saves and recording a 65.2% save percentage.

Excluding own goals, Earps conceded 30 times in the competition in 2023-24, from an expected goals on target (xGoT) figure of 30.6.

Manchester United have confirmed the departure of captain Katie Zelem.

England international Zelem has spent six years with United, helping them gain promotion to the WSL in her first season.

Zelem has scored 32 goals in 161 appearances for the club, and led them to a maiden Women's FA Cup triumph in 2023-24.

However, she is now set for pastures new, with the 28-year-old joining forward Lucia Garcia in departing upon the expiration of her contract.

"Everyone at Manchester United would like to place on record their thanks to Katie for her excellent service and wish her the best of luck in the next phase of her career," a club statement read.

Zelem and Garcia do not appear to be the only big names who will be leaving United after the end of their current deals, with England goalkeeper Mary Earps reportedly set to join Paris Saint-Germain.

Everton have announced that Toni Duggan will leave the club when her contract expires at the end of this month.

The forward is departing after her second spell at the club, having started her career at Everton in 2007-08 before rejoining in July 2021.

She appeared in all but one of Everton's matches during her return season but missed the entirety of the second after going on maternity leave, but returned to action last October.

The 32-year-old initially broke into the first team at 16 years old and scored an extra-time winner against Watford to send Everton into the Premier League Cup final.

In her first spell, she was named FA Women’s Young Player of the Year in 2009 and went on to lift the FA Women's Cup the following year.

Duggan played 92 games for the Toffees over her two spells, scoring 29 goals.

Alan McTavish, Everton Women's Chief Executive Officer, said: "Everyone at Everton thanks Toni for her service and commitment to the club.

"From breaking into the senior team as a 16-year-old to winning the FA Cup, she can be very proud of her contribution to Everton.

"We wish Toni all the best for the future."

Duggan has also played for Manchester City, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid while earning 79 England caps to date.

Chelsea striker Sam Kerr has signed a new two-year deal until 2026, the club announced on Thursday.

Kerr, whose contract was due to expire at the end of the Women's Super League season, has scored 99 goals in 128 matches since joining from Chicago Red Stars in 2019.

The 30-year-old has played a huge role in the success of Emma Hayes' side in recent years, winning five consecutive league titles along with three FA Cups, two League Cups and the Community Shield. 

During the 2022-23 campaign, Kerr scored 29 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions, making her 100th appearance for the Blues in the process. 

The striker has not played since January because of an anterior cruciate ligament injury and has been ruled out of the Australia squad for this summer's Olympics in Paris.

"It’s really exciting and a very proud moment for me," Kerr said after putting pen to paper on her new deal. "Having the opportunity to stay at a club like Chelsea means a lot to me. I’m really excited to continue to push and to try to win trophies."

Since arriving in England, Kerr has claimed the Golden Boot twice and was runner-up to Spain's Aitana Bonmati at the Ballon d'Or awards last year.

Kerr would also become the first player to be awarded the Football Writers’ Association Women’s Footballer of the Year prize twice in a row. 

Arsenal have confirmed that Victoria Pelova has sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury while on international duty with the Netherlands. 

The 25-year-old, who scored two goals and provided seven assists during the 2023–24 Women's Super League campaign for the Gunners, is expected to undergo surgery in the coming days, but it is not the first time an Arsenal player has suffered an injury of this nature. 

England pair Beth Mead and Leah Williamson were forced to miss the 2023 Women's World Cup, with Pelova's compatriot Vivianne Miedema also missing out on the tournament in Australia because of the same issue. 

In a statement, Arsenal said: "Victoria was substituted after her knee extended in the 12th minute of the Netherlands' UEFA Women's Championship qualifier in Tampere, Finland, and subsequently underwent testing to determine the extent of the injury.

"She will undergo surgery in due course and will be sidelined for an extended period."

Pelova was one of the Gunners' most influential players during their third-place finish in the WSL, creating 30 chances from her 22 appearances, the third-highest in the squad behind Mead and Katie McCabe, as Arsenal finished third, while also winning the Women's League Cup. 

ACL injuries have become a major problem for the women’s game and in April a new three-year project researching them was launched.

Sonia Bompastor has been appointed as Chelsea Women's new head coach, replacing Emma Hayes at Stamford Bridge.

Hayes oversaw a fifth straight Women's Super League title for the Blues this season but departed to take up a role with the United States Women's national side.

Bompastor was expected to come in as the replacement for Hayes, with the announcement confirmed on Wednesday as Chelsea managed to strike a compensation deal with Lyon Women.

The 43-year-old, who has signed a four-year deal with Chelsea, leaves the French side after a successful three years in charge, winning three league tiles and the Women's Champions League in 2022.

"The sporting directors and I conducted a thorough and considered recruitment process to identify Emma’s successor," Chelsea's general manager Paul Green said of the appointment.

"Sonia's vision, coaching philosophy and winning mentality made her the outstanding candidate.

"She is a world-class coach with a proven track record of success on the biggest stages that will instantly command respect from the dressing room."

Bompastor won seven trophies during her time with French heavyweights Lyon but lost the Champions League final last Saturday against Barcelona.

She was capped 156 times by the French national team before retiring in 2013, and subsequently becoming the first woman to win the Champions League as a player and coach after her success with Lyon.

Assistants Camille Abily and Theo Rivrin will join Bompastor as Chelsea prepare for a new era without Hayes, who departs the Blues after a 12-year spell that yielded 14 major domestic titles. 

Leah Williamson has put pen to paper on a new deal at Arsenal, extending her 19-year stay with the Gunners.

The England defender, who was eight years old when she had her first trial at the club, has agreed fresh terms with the Women's Super League side.

Williamson returned to action in February following a lengthy lay-off with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, which forced her to miss the Lionesses' run to the 2023 Women's World Cup final.

The 27-year-old, who skippered England to Euro 2022 glory, has made 232 appearances for Arsenal, winning the Women's Super League as well as the FA Cup and League Cup on two occasions.

"Everyone knows what Arsenal means to me, but I think every time I sign a new contract, I feel that love ignite all over again," she told the club's official website.

"I'm very happy to be staying. This is a place where I can still continue to grow, develop and be challenged. As a group, we're all very focused on bringing more silverware to this club and I can't wait to get started again when the new season comes around."

"Leah is an essential part of our team, so we're delighted she has signed a new contract with us," Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall added. "She brings us so much on and off the pitch - leadership, accountability and commitment.

"Leah has a special bond with Arsenal, and I'm looking forward to continuing to work together to bring more success to this great club."

Clare Wheatley, the club's director of women's football, said: "Leah's connection with Arsenal runs so deep. I can remember her as a girl in our academy many years ago, and I'm so proud of the determined, passionate woman she has become.

"We're thrilled that Leah has signed a new deal here, and I know our supporters will join me in congratulating her today."

The 2023-24 season was one of the best to date for the Women's Super League since its inception.

The drama of the title race going down to the final day; all three domestic trophies being won by different sides and record attendances across the league - fans have been filling stadiums and proving women’s football has an exciting future.

Chelsea went into the season as defending champions of the WSL and FA Cup, and looking to make history by securing a fifth consecutive league title. Emma Hayes and her team have dominated over the last ten years and this season looked set to be no different. 

The Blues got there in the end, but it wasn't easy...

The Hayes dynasty and the end of an era

A shock reverberated around the women's game in November when Hayes announced that, after 11 years in charge, she would be leaving Chelsea to join the US Women’s National Team as coach.

Hayes is the most decorated manager in Chelsea's history, and transformed them into serial winners domestically. She departs the WSL as the manager with the most games (212), most wins (151) and the fourth-best win rate (71.2 per cent - minimum 50 games managed).

Her legacy will be more than just the 16 trophies she won, including the WSL title this term.

The growth of women's football during Hayers' tenure has been meteoric, and she could have only dreamed of the farewell she received as, at one of England’s most iconic football stadia in Old Trafford, Chelsea thrashed Manchester United 6-0 to seal their fifth straight WSL crown.

Millie Bright, Chelsea's captain, had labelled the team as "mentality monsters", and that was certainly a fitting tag, as the champions scored four first-half goals to dash any lingering hopes Man City had of winning the title.

Hayes' final triumph came despite star striker Sam Kerr suffering an ACL injury in January, though Colombia forward Mayra Ramirez arrived from Levante for a British record transfer fee of £384,000 plus a further £42,000 in potential add-ons.

Ramirez proved her worth, grabbing two goals in a first half in which she was unplayable and a delight to watch. Fran Kirby, meanwhile, came on to score on her final WSL appearance for Chelsea, and leaves the Blues as their all-time leading goal scorer (63) and assister (33) in the competition.

City only managed a 2-1 win away to Aston Villa, meaning the WSL title was settled on goal difference for just the second time after Liverpool finished ahead of Chelsea in the 2014 season, with the Blues goal difference of +53 this campaign the fourth best in the competition’s history.

The champions also scored the most goals by a team in a single WSL season (71).

Hayes reflected on her special time at the club in her first interview as the USWNT boss.

Speaking to the USWNT media channel, she said: "I am proud of the fact that I could leave that club in a better place and one that I hope continues to compete. But for me, the challenge of competing for World Cups, for the Olympics, and the dream of coaching a team that I have always wanted to get the opportunity to do. I simply couldn't turn it down."

So close, yet so far, for City

City once again came so close to bursting Chelsea’s bubble and spoiling Hayes’ party. However, after it being in their own hands, a 2-1 defeat to Arsenal in the penultimate match gave the advantage back to Chelsea.

Gareth Taylor's team City became the first team in WSL history to win 10 away games in a single season, with their only failure to win on the road coming at Arsenal in November.

City missed plenty of chances in that game, and their bad luck in front of goal correlated with the injury to Khadija 'Bunny' Shaw against West Ham.

Shaw missed the final three league games, having become the first player in WSL history to record a goal or assist in 10 consecutive appearances (15 goals, one assist).

The Jamaican was prolific for City, scoring 21 times in 18 appearances, securing the Golden Boot award. Shaw was also named Football Writers Award Footballer of the Year and the WSL Player of the Year. She even became the second-quickest player to score 50 WSL goals, behind only Vivianne Miedema. Kerr is the only other player to have netted 20+ goals in back-to-back seasons, meanwhile.

Yet City still fell short of what would have been their first title since 2016. They have now been runners-up six times (five times to Chelsea), four more than any other side. 

Glory glory Man Utd

Despite the end-of-season drubbing for United, the previous weekend had seen Marc Skinner and his side create history of their own, this time in the FA Cup. For the first time in 11 years, the trophy was not lifted by Arsenal, Chelsea or Man City, proving the true development around the league.

United were featuring in the FA Cup final for the second consecutive year, having not reached this stage before 2023, and headed into the tie against Tottenham as favourites. They lost 1-0 to Chelsea in the 2022-23 final and did not want history to repeat itself.

They duly banished last year's demons in front of a packed Wembley, with an emphatic 4-0 win.

Ella Toone's eye-catching strike in the first half set the tone before a goal for Rachel Williams and Lucia Garcia's double added gloss to a convincing scoreline, despite Beth England hitting the crossbar for Spurs.

United became the 18th different winner of the women’s FA Cup. 

Gunners have their say

Arsenal pushed Man City and Chelsea all the way this season and although in the remaining few weeks they struggled to keep pace, they did have their say on both their rivals’ seasons endings.

The title race was effectively lost for Man City after they lost 2-1 in the dying minutes of their clash with Arsenal.

Similarly, the Gunners also got the better of Chelsea with a last-minute winner in the League Cup final, with Arsenal having won that trophy in successive seasons.

Striker Stina Blackstenius scored on both occasions, netting three important goals to secure silverware for Arsenal, frustrating Chelsea and ultimately ensuring City went empty-handed for another season. The Swede has 43 goals in 83 appearances for the Gunners and these big moments helped secure her a new contract.

So long, but maybe not farewell

The WSL has had some legends grace it over the years. World Cup winners and European champions have rocked up in the competition and it has become arguably one of the most sought-after leagues to play in.

But Hayes' was not the only shock departure.

Arsenal striker and the WSL's all-time leading goalscorer Miedema announced she would be leaving the Gunners at the end of her contract on a free transfer. With 125 goals and 50 assists for the Gunners over a seven-year period, the Dutch European Championship winner is bowing out a legend.

She has been out for most of the season, recovering from an ACL injury, but it's a shock to see such a talent allowed to leave. 

Many clubs in the WSL and around the world will relish the chance to have Miedema, who is only 27, pull on their shirt next season.

This season has been one of fond farewells, great goals, and record attendances. Next season promises to be continue the trend.

Mary Earps will seek answers from Manchester United regarding the club's direction before making a decision on her future, saying she has felt like a "punching bag" this season.

Earps' contract with the Women's FA Cup winners is set to expire in June, and there have been few signs of progress concerning a new deal.

Last year, United rejected a world-record bid for Earps, who starred as England won Euro 2022 and finished as runners-up at the 2023 World Cup.

Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and other clubs have been linked with Earps, and she is biding her time after enduring a difficult campaign in which her commitment to United was called into question.

"The honest reality is that conversations are still ongoing," Earps told Sky Sports on Tuesday. "I've been clear I don't want to make an emotional decision.

"The beginning of the season was really tough, I felt really upset about things that were being said about me and things that came out that weren't true.

"I've tried to be professional, keep my head down, work hard, get on with my job and that's been hard. I've been a punching bag at times.

"I know I've given my heart and soul for the whole season. It's a tough situation.

"I've asked the club for some confirmation on what they're trying to achieve and when I have those answers I'll be able to make a decision. It's up to the club."

Emma Hayes says this Women’s Super League title is the "toughest but sweetest" after being pushed all the way by Manchester City.

Hayes announced earlier this season that this would be her last in charge of the Blues and had written off their chances of lifting the trophy after a 4-3 defeat to Liverpool at the start of May.

However, an 8-0 victory over Bristol City followed by a 1-0 win from their game in hand over Tottenham put their fate back in their own hands going into the final day.

In the end, Chelsea won the WSL on goal difference, with another heavy 6-0 win adding to their advantage over City to help them to a fifth consecutive title.

Hayes took time after the match to reflect not only on the game but also on her 12-year stay at Chelsea.

"What a wonderful performance from the team today," she told Sky Sports. "I picked a team of leaders from the beginning, and I felt it was absolutely essential we had the emotional maturity and regulation for a stadium as fitting as this.

"We've lost a lot of players today so to have some of them back today, it was just an amazing performance.

"I can't say it's my most enjoyable [title] but it's definitely been the toughest, without doubt, and for that reason, probably the sweetest. I'm just so relieved it's over.

"I just haven't got any more to give, I know that. The hardest thing to do is five in a row, because people take their eye off the ball. My legacy is winning while building a team for the future.

"Everyone said girls can't play, nor can they fill stadiums, nor can they get paid, nor can they create history.

"Not only are we not going away, but we are going to fill them every week. Women's football now is a serious business and that for me, is what it's about."

Captain Millie Bright missed six months of the season due to a knee injury, but returned in April to help Chelsea during an important run-in.

"It was pretty special but when half the country writes you off... we've got the monster mentality, we've shown it season after season," she said after the game.

"We were given a second chance. They don't often, but you have to take them, and we did. We beat Bristol City, beat Tottenham, and we've come here and put on a five-star performance to take this title.

"It's extra special to get it for Emma [Hayes] and the players who are leaving us.

"That's our standards, we shouldn't be underestimated to make this sort of comeback because we're defending champions.

"It's been an emotional season for Emma especially. We picked her up [after the loss at Liverpool] like she does for us every day."

As expected, Jamaica and Manchester City forward Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw won the Barclays Women's Super League (WSL) Golden Boot award by a distance, becoming the first player from the club to win the prize in their 10 years in the top flight.

The award marks a clean sweep of individual prizes for Shaw, who also won the Football Writers' Association (FWA) Player of the Year award and the Women's Super League Player of the Year award in recent weeks.

Shaw’s tally of 21 goals ensured that she finished eight goals clear of Chelsea's Lauren James and Brighton’s Elisabeth Terland, who both ended with 13 goals apiece.

The 27-year-old Shaw averaged a goal every 66 minutes in the league this season, accounting for over a third of the City's total league goals. During her impressive exploits, the Jamaican also became the Club’s record goalscorer in the process, when she found the net in a 3-1 Manchester derby win at the Etihad Stadium.

The forward's campaign was cut short in April after suffering a broken leg in City's 5-0 home win against West Ham.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts again hailed the towering striker on her remarkable achievements throughout the 2023/24 campaign.

"It's pleasing to see Khadija receiving multiple accolades for her achievements," Ricketts said.

"She obviously worked hard to improve her craft and the results have been overwhelming. The management and staff of the federation congratulate her heartily and wish her a speedy recovery from her injury,” he added.

Meanwhile, Shaw's teammate Khiara Keating became the youngest player to win the Women's Super League Golden Glove award.

Keating, 19, kept nine clean sheets in 22 league games for City as they finished second behind Chelsea in the title race. Manchester United's Mary Earps kept seven clean sheets in 22 games, while Chelsea's Hannah Hampton has managed six in 10 matches.

The young shot stopper played just three league games for City last season, spending most of the second half of the campaign on loan at then-Championship side Coventry United.

Gareth Taylor says that Manchester City will "come back fighting" after losing out on the Women’s Super League title on the final day.

City beat Aston Villa 2-1 thanks to goals from Mary Fowler and Lauren Hemp on Saturday, but ultimately fell just short, missing out to Chelsea on goal difference.

Emma Hayes led the Blues to a fifth consecutive WSL title with a 6-0 thrashing of Manchester United at Old Trafford, having made up their inferior goal difference with an equally impressive 8-0 win over Bristol City two weeks ago. 

Taylor has reflected on a "mix of emotions" after narrowly missing out on being champions.

Speaking to BBC Sport after the game, he said: "I feel really proud of the team's performance. The mad thing is we could have maybe scored double figures today quite easily. That's the difference.

"To win 18 games in the season and still come up short is not easy but we have. It's been a big push from the team, we've worked incredibly hard, and we'll come back fighting."

When asked what lessons City can take from this season, Taylor added: "We need to improve in all areas. We have to have potentially better options from the sidelines. I think that's really key.

"I'm so enthusiastic about the way we played today. A lot of the stuff we did was really good. That's what inspires me to get up in the morning and fight for next season's title."

Goalkeeper Khiara Keating became the youngest-ever Golden Glove winner in her breakout season, as the 19-year-old kept nine clean sheets in 22 league games and conceded just 15 goals in total.

While disappointed about Saturday’s outcome, Keating looked back on the highlights of her season.

She said: "Obviously we are disappointed. We wanted to go out and win a trophy today. We knew what we had to do, and we didn't quite get it done.

"Hopefully next season in the Champions League we can show what we're about and go and win some trophies.

"From a personal point of view, my breakout season had a lot to prove at the start of the season, everyone was kind of.. Not doubting but wondering what I'd be like. I hope I've shown everyone what I can do.

"Gaz [Taylor] put his faith in me to go and play how I play and that is what I needed to go out there and do what I did this season."

Mayra Ramirez turned in a stellar performance to propel Chelsea to the WSL title in Emma Hayes' final match in charge as the Blues thrashed Manchester United 6-0.

Earlier in May, Hayes – who is ending a 12-year stint in charge of the Blues to become the United States coach – had all but given up on claiming a fifth straight WSL crown.

Yet Chelsea's 8-0 victory over Bristol City two weeks ago, combined with Manchester City's defeat to Arsenal, opened the door, and after beating Tottenham in midweek, the Blues knew a win, while maintaining their positive goal difference, would be enough.

And they made sure there was no room for error with an incredible first-half display inspired by Ramirez, who scored twice and set up goals for Johanna Rytting Kaneryd and Sjoeke Nusken at Old Trafford.

Melanie Leupolz got in on the act early in the second half as Chelsea's celebrations began in earnest, with Fran Kirby netting late on to complete the rout on her farewell appearance.

Ultimately, City – likely deflated by the news coming from Old Trafford – held up their end of the bargain, but shorn of top goalscorer Khadija Shaw, Gareth Taylor's team could only beat Aston Villa 2-1.

City were constantly chasing their title rivals, with Ramirez and Rytting Kaneryd putting Chelsea 2-0 up at United inside eight minutes.

Mary Fowler nudged City ahead at Villa Park, though when Taylor's team went in at the interval, they will have seen additional goals from record signing Ramirez and Nusken had all but sewn up the title for Chelsea already.

Leupolz has scored her first WSL goal in over two years to add further gloss for Chelsea when they came back out from the restart in Manchester, and City were then hit by a further blow when Rachel Daly equalised for Villa.

Lauren Hemp, who had assisted Fowler's opener, restored City's lead, though it was never going to be enough, with Kirby's farewell goal ensuring Chelsea finished with a goal difference of 53 compared to their rivals' 46.

Chelsea are now unbeaten across their last nine WSL games that have come on the final day of the season, while the Blues are now nine WSL matches without loss against United, having won eight of those fixtures.

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