There were a total of 74 permanent signings by clubs in the Women’s Super League during the summer window, which closed exactly four months ago. Not every player hits the field with their new squad – some like Thea Kyvåg have left after a short stint on the grass again.
While there are many reasons why players are struggling to settle into their new teams – such as injuries that have kept two of Chelsea’s new recruits out, or manager Mark Skinner’s reluctance to let new players impress Manchester United – there is still half a season left. Most of them to prove themselves.
However, others have already consolidated their new teams and moved on with ease. In fact, as we get into the midseason of the season, answering the question of who made a better-than-74 integration is easier than answering whether those who struggled will continue to do so.
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So, after four months of seeing how these player acquisitions pan out, here are the 10 best signings of 2022-23 in the WSL – so far – in no particular order:
Aston Villa: MF Kenza Dali and FW Rachel Daly
As we’ve already seen this winter, Aston Villa manager Carla Ward has big plans – but the team have already had more fun attacking this season since bringing in Kenza Daly from Everton and Rachel Daly from the Houston Dash. They arrived in separate transitions over the summer, but together they changed the villains’ appearance.
Far from just having two players who were brilliant at the pace of the league, both have helped Villa double their chances during matches, with Daly at striker currently the top scorer in the Premier League. For her part, Daly remains one of the biggest creative influences in the league, and the attacking midfielder looks set to make a deeper impact with whatever increased possession pedigree the Villainesses can find during the second half of the season.
Brighton & Hove Albion: MF/FW Elisabeth Terland
It’s safe to say that Brighton hasn’t had its best season yet.
However, with a new manager and a host of new signings ahead of the second half of the season, things are poised to settle down on the south coast.
During the upheavals and fluctuations at the beginning of the season, the Norwegian Elisabeth Terland quickly settled into the Brighton squad, whether playing on the wing or up front, and became one of the best attacking threats during the first half of the season.
Everton: Catherine Vigy
With Everton undergoing a rebuilding process this season, things haven’t always been going so well for the Toffees, and indeed, the team have struggled to hit targets so far this year. However, Veje, a defender who can play on both sides, has constantly tried to help her team advance up the field and seize chances.
Although no stranger to the league having spent a season with Arsenal several years ago, the Denmark international has quickly taken on a bigger role with Everton since his summer move. With the pieces still in place on Merseyside, Veje’s willingness to move forward and embody the modern full-back role will be key to the team as it continues to grow and develop under new manager, Brian Sørensen.
Liverpool: DF Emma Koivisto and DF Gili Flaherty
Although results haven’t always gone Liverpool’s way this season, the Reds have put in some solid performances on their return to the WSL after a spell in the Second Division. Keeping most of the same squad that achieved promotion from the Championship, coach Matt Bird has bolstered his squad slightly before the season – but his signings prove shrewd.
Established as one of the most reliable defenders in the WSL, Emma Koivisto has gone on to play as well at Liverpool as she did at Brighton, constantly offering forward movement from the right-back position. Likewise, central defender Jilly Flaherty has brought a wealth of her experience to help the Reds stay resolute in defense and after a few defensive moves, the team has strengthened their defensive line even further.
Manchester City: DF Kerstin Casparig
One of seven summer signings made by Man City, Dutch defender Kirsten Kasparig has arguably achieved the most successful run for the Sky Blues – just ahead of Laia Aleixandri – finding a steady foothold since her move from Twente.
A stable right-back, Kasparig brings consistency to a City side still looking for their best form, with many of her fellow newcomers still looking for their place in Manchester.
Manchester United: DF Maya Le Tissier
A young defender with plenty of potential, it was no surprise to see Maya Le Tissier adapting to her new team with ease, but her success at centre-back has also highlighted just how difficult United’s other summer signings have been. in the starting formations.
Where Le Tissier thrived was fellow defensive summer signing, Aïssatou Tounkara barely featured, but with the 20-year-old Briton seemingly at home at the heart of United’s defence, it’s hard to imagine a change in the status quo.
Tottenham Hotspur: MF Drew Spence
A team with a lot of promise Tottenham have failed to reach any dizzying heights so far this season with the majority of summer signings failing to live up to the billing, however, Drew Spence has been a welcome addition to the North London squad.
One of the few leading scorers for the Spurs so far this season, Spence has shown her experience in the Women’s Basketball League and bolstered her team’s offense from midfield, resulting in a mostly underwhelming offense.
West Ham United: FW Viviane Asseyi
Another team undergoing minor improvement this season, West Ham made 12 signings over the summer after Paul Konceski was promoted to manager. While the Irons haven’t always dazzled this season, the team has pulled together in a way that makes sense.
While striker Vivian Aceh wasn’t the only player to impress for the Hammers, the France international has quickly settled into her new club, needing a bit of time to adjust to the Frauen-Bundesliga. As the squad continues to grow over the second half of the season and partnerships continue to develop, Asseyi will benefit most from the growing understanding across the squad.