Chelsea will have a brother and sister duo in their two senior teams next season
Chelsea Women have agreed on a record fee between Women’s Super League (WSL) clubs to sign Manchester United’s Lauren James.
The deal still depends on personal terms, but the 19-year-old forward wants to join her brother Reece James in west London.
After obtaining United’s permission, James has already completed her medical treatment and is widely expected to join manager Emma Hayes’ double winning party in a deal worth an initial £ 200,000, which will rise to £ 300,000 with additions – the biggest transfer ever between two WSL clubs.
Why did conversations take so long?
United were careful to lose a star player to a rival, but with only a year left on her contract, James was able to get the move she wanted.
It comes amid a summer crisis at United that lost their highly respected manager, Casey Stoney.
Stoney resigned as manager after becoming frustrated about the lack of investment in behind-the-scenes infrastructure.
“It was an honor to lead the women’s team at this amazing club, and it was an incredibly difficult decision,” Stoney said when he resigned.
Meanwhile, the American duo Tobin Heath and Christian Press left to return to the United States. Co-star Jess Sigsworth has also left the club and is likely to join the newly promoted Leicester City.
Where does James fit in with Chelsea’s plans?
Chelsea are already heavy in their front line with Fran Kirby, Sam Kerr, Pernille Harder, Bethany England, Erin Cuthbert and Niamh Charles among their options.
However, Hayes has a habit of moving players to deeper roles through her coaching methods and can find a way to fit in with James.
James is considered one of the best young talents in English football who has already earned a call on the senior national team.
At the end of the 2019-20 season, she finished as the best scorer for United and was named the PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year.
James also topped Goal’s NxGn list in 2020, fourth place and places her among the top ten young talents in the women’s competition.
She is currently working with personal trainer Tom Joyce to stay fit before the new season, despite the fact that she was not on vacation.
The Blues meanwhile want to take their last step and win the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
They suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat against Barcelona in the final, and it remains the only trophy that Hayes eludes during her 10-year stint at the club.