FEATURED: Three potential destinations for departing Chelsea attacker Kirby | OneFootball

FEATURED: Three potential destinations for departing Chelsea attacker Kirby | OneFootball

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WSL Full-Time

·9 June 2024

FEATURED: Three potential destinations for departing Chelsea attacker Kirby

Article image:FEATURED: Three potential destinations for departing Chelsea attacker Kirby

England international attacker Fran Kirby is on the move this summer with the player set to leave Chelsea upon the expiry of her contract.

Kirby leaves the South West Londoners having made 208 appearances for the club in all competitions. She is Chelsea’s all-time record goalscorer with 116 goals.

With Kirby being available on a free transfer, she is sure to be the subject of huge demand. WSL Full-Time have assessed her potential next career move and here are three clubs that could secure her signature this summer.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Probably the most heavily-linked club so far are Tottenham Hotspur. The Lilywhites are in pursuit of long-term success under head coach Robert Vilahamn and he has brought an exciting style of attacking football to North London. Spurs finished in the top half of the Barclays Women’s Super League table this season while they were Adobe Women’s FA Cup finalists for the first time.

Spurs are investing heavily in the development of their women’s team and Kirby would definitely fit straight in should she secure a move to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Former Chelsea teammates Drew Spence and Beth England are thriving at Spurs and Kirby could be a replacement for attack-minded midfielder Grace Clinton who has returned to parent club Manchester United following the conclusion of her season-long loan. Spurs feels like the perfect fit for Kirby and it’d be no surprise to see her wearing white next season.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Another club linked with Kirby are Brighton & Hove Albion. The Seagulls have a long-term vision to qualify for the UEFA Women’s Champions League, although that plan has taken a few setbacks in recent years. Signing a player like Kirby would be a statement of intent from the Sussex club and it could help attract other players needed to finally push them in the direction of the top four.

Interim head coach Mikey Harris has spent the final three months of the season implementing a Brighton & Hove Albion playing philosophy and Kirby would certainly fit into the club’s style. That being said, the player arguably has plenty of football left in her to contribute to a high-performing team and Brighton & Hove Albion aren’t there yet. Geographically, a move to Brighton & Hove Albion would fit, as would the club’s style of play, however, Kirby is likely to have bigger and better offers on the table.

Crystal Palace

Is there real transfer interest in Kirby from Crystal Palace or is it just fantasy? Some have linked Kirby with a move to the Barclays Women’s Championship title winners but that would be too big a signal of intent wouldn’t it?

Crystal Palace enjoyed a remarkable season in 2023/2024 with new head coach Laura Kaminski finally getting the team to click. The Eagles were the deserved second tier champions, the club winning a five-way battle for the title. The South Londoners must invest heavily in players this summer or they will almost definitely be fighting relegation in next season’s Barclays Women’s Super League. Crystal Palace will need to target experienced top tier players and seasoned internationals this summer to give their survival hopes a major boost.

Kirby won’t come cheap. She’s a current England international, she’s played at the very top level for almost a decade and she has won a whole host of trophies both for club and country. Crystal Palace would need to make a significant contract offer if they want to sign a player of Kirby’s class. There’s also a big question over what the Crystal Palace team will look like next season. Will the club look to add many quality players or go with the majority of their title-winning squad? There are so many questions over what the future holds for The Eagles and at this stage, it is hard to see Kirby being a part of that.

Kirby bid farewell to Chelsea with a substitute appearance against Manchester United on the final day of the season. The player scored in a 6-0 victory at Old Trafford, a result which secured The Blues another Barclays Women’s Super League title.

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