Finishing third and missing out on the Champions League have set Chelsea FC Women on a warpath, both on and off the pitch. On the pitch the team have been dominant, as they are the only squad in the FA WSL that have yet to taste defeat, and have doled out two of their title rivals’ (Arsenal and Manchester City) three combined losses.
Off the pitch the team responded by signing slick Norway winger Guro Reiten in the summer and beat all suitors to the biggest ever signing in women’s football, prolific goalscorer Sam Kerr. And they apparently aren’t finished.
It was announced today that another player will be joining the Blues in January, 19-year-old Scotland wonder-kid Jamie-Lee Napier.
Napier, who signed from Celtic to Hibernian in 2018, scored 22 goals in 33 games this season in the Scottish Women’s Premier League. She helped Hibernian to an SWPL Cup, a Scottish Cup, and was named this season’s SWPL Player of the Year.
Napier can play as a winger or fullback and on either side. Given her age, it wouldn’t be surprising to see manager Emma Hayes build her up at fullback to provide even more of a pacey attacking threat.
Fellow Scotland international Erin Cuthbert is already buzzing about having someone to talk to who might not ask her to repeat what she’s just said!
It’s clear Emma Hayes and the Blues are looking for immediate impact (Kerr) while ensuring the team’s future remains not just bright, but dominant.
At the moment it costs fractions to invest in a women’s team but unfortunately many clubs simply do not do it. Manchester United and Spurs paid nominal attention — United’s women’s team didn’t even exist until the summer of 2018 — and are already top-6 clubs. The signings Chelsea have made this year could not happen without adequate investment in the women’s game. It’s good to support a club who view the women’s team as a quality competitive product, and not solely as inspiration for little girls.
Welcome to Chelsea, Jamie-Lee! We have matches to win and trophies to lift!