Should Chelsea fans feel calm or anxious about inactivity in the transfer market?

The transfer market in the women’s game has been extremely active already this summer, it feels there’s a seismic shift happening; big transfer fees, excitement amongst fans and transfers making waves is now the norm, but at Kingsmeadow, things have been quiet.

For many fans this is a worrying sign, that rival clubs are moving ahead of Chelsea and that they are stuck still, bathing in the success of last season. Whilst there is a case to be made for that point, it’s worth remembering the quality they have already got and the fact that Emma Hayes in charge, the walking embodiment of bringing plans to life.

But should Chelsea fans be worried about the club’s apparent inaction in the transfer market?

Chelsea haven't been as active as their counterparts in the transfer window as of yet. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
Chelsea haven’t been as active as their counterparts in the transfer window as of yet. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Chelsea need some new signings but at the same time they don’t need signings.

They finished last season’s WSL campaign two points ahead of nearest rival Manchester City, third placed Arsenal were nine points behind with Manchester United another point back from them. All this with Chelsea having to contend with fixtures deep into European football, unlike all their rivals.

This summer has seen Manchester City transfer in Vicky Losada from Barcelona, Ruby Mace from Arsenal and Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw from Bordeaux to try and close that gap and bring a second WSL title to the blue side of Manchester.

The less said about the red side of Manchester the better. What’s going on there is nothing short of outrageous and should be a huge source of embarrassment for those in the corridors of power at Old Trafford, but then again, I do they care?

Arsenal will be a bit of an unknown, they’ve lost Danielle Van De Donk to Lyon but have signed Mana Iwabuchi, who spent last season at Aston Villa. Add to that they’ve got a new head coach in Jonas Eidevall, who replaced Joe Montemurro, and we don’t really know if Arsenal will be challenging for honours or taking time to bed in new ideas and philosophies.

Outside of last season’s top four, Everton have shown the kind of ambition and financial backing to their women’s team that’s so refreshing to see. Under Willie Kirk they claimed the ‘best of the rest’ title, but their signings this summer in Kenza Dali, Toni Duggan, Anna Anvegard and Nathalie Bjorn show that they intend to crash that party this season.

Having said that, I wouldn’t trade any of their squads for ours. There are of course weak spots in the squad but the overall depth of quality that we’ve got really is second to none in the WSL.

We could, in my opinion, strengthen the squad at full back and defensive midfield. We have of course enough quality already in the likes of Maren Mjelde, Jonna Andersson and Sophie Ingle, to challenge for honours domestically.

It’s the challenge of Europe where Emma Hayes will need to be perhaps a touch more ruthless if we are going all out to win that elusive trophy.

Chelsea's fullbacks struggled in the Champions League final, is that area to improve on in the transfer window? (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Chelsea’s fullbacks struggled in the Champions League final, is that area to improve on in the transfer window? (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Against Barcelona in Goteborg, our fill-in full backs got over run and our midfield didn’t get a kick, but at the same time there’s a case that the luck of the first goal and the controversial penalty decision mean that the 4-0 defeat probably wasn’t as flabbergasting as it seems on the surface.

Chelsea suffered years of Champions League heartbreaks and always responded by signing a better calibre of player such as Melanie Leupolz, Sam Kerr and Pernille Harder, so its hard to imagine that after suffering the biggest heartbreak of all that Chelsea would sit on their hands.

Given what’s happening on the continent this summer, our rivals for the Champions League next season are already a much more daunting prospect than last season.

Holders Barcelona have signed Fridolina Rolfo and Ingrid Engen from Wolfsburg along with Irene Parades from PSG to bolster what is already a dominate starting XI.

PSG and Lyon have pretty much switched squads, Wolfsburg have lost players but have signed Pauline Bremer, Katarzyna Kiedrzynek, Kathrin Hendrich and Lena Oberdorf. Their FrauenBundesliga rivals Bayern Munich have also been active bringing in Glódís Viggósdóttir and Sofia Jakobsson.

You can see why some supporters might be starting to feel a bit anxious that our European rivals are leaving us behind. Chelsea have already signed Aniek Nouwen, the Dutch defender, who’ll join up with the squad after representing the Netherlands at the Tokyo Olympic games, and more will surely be arriving with her even if it appears Chelsea are doing nothing.

Rumours and stories about Lauren James won’t disappear either, with everything going on at Manchester United right now its hard to imagine any of their players wanting to stay. I’m not sure exactly where she fits in this squad right now, but she’s certainly going to be a star of the future.

Perhaps it’s a case of securing her signature and giving her another season on loan while our current crop of strikers, all aged 27 and above, have another crack at it.

The difficulty for Emma and the Chelsea board is that this squad of players are so settled and they came within 90 minutes of winning the biggest prize in football, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to go into next season with the belief that with the experience under their belts they could go one better next season.

It’s a long summer and it’s perhaps worth remembering that we are blessed with an extraordinary group of players, all of whom are adored by Chelsea supporters and sometimes, in life and in blackjack, the best course of action is stick rather than twist.

Written by Dean Mears (@DeanMears)

Edited by Tom Coley (@tomcoley49)

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