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World record transfer Pernille Harder finding the challenge she was looking for at Chelsea

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The most expensive women’s football player ever on getting used to the WSL, Emma Hayes, and fitting into a star-studded squad

Pernille Harder receives UEFA Player of the Year and UEFA Forward of the Year Awards Photo by Harriet Lander - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Pernille Harder scored 68 goals across 75 matches for Wolfsburg in the Frauen-Bundesliga. She also scored 75 goals in 73 Champions League matches for Wolfsburg. Harder’s most recent Champions League campaign ended in a loss to Lyon in the Final, but due to a spectacular overall tournament Harder was still named the 2019-20 UEFA Women’s Player of the Year.

All of this is why Chelsea made her the largest transfer in women’s football history (ed.note: a reported £300k) and why Chelsea were expected to be an unstoppable force. However, across four matches (one start), Harder has one goal and is still getting used to England, especially the WSL.

“It’s a high level – the results already show that anything can happen in the league here. That’s also why I came here, to get this excitement in the games. I find it a really exciting league.”

Though the Frauen-Bundesliga is growing, it remains a two-club league, and was certainly such during Harder’s four seasons with Wolfsburg. That’s certainly not the case in the WSL, with at least three top teams (Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal) and a few more catching up quickly, such as Everton and Manchester United.

“The first five or six teams are really good, they can take points from anyone. Maybe there’s a bottom that’s not on the same level, but the fact there are five or six teams on that level is really impressive.

“It will make it so interesting; you know everyone can lose points. That’s important, instead of having leagues with just two good teams, and those two teams just take points from each other.”

Harder believes that her mentality and work on the pitch and in the gym show that she can adapt, and ultimately meet the challenge of adapting to, and starring in, the toughest league in European women’s football.

“It shows that what I’m doing is the right thing, and I need to keep on doing, keep having the same mentality, the way I work on the field, the way I train in the gym – that I’m on the right path. I just have to keep on doing that.”

She also knows Emma Hayes will continue to challenge her, and that the team she joined is full of players with immense quality.

“It’s been good. It’s inspiring to get a new kind of coach, a new way of thinking and seeing different parts of the game. I’m enjoying it.”

“There’s so many gifted talents in the team, technical and also creative players, so I knew what I came into. I see what they can do and it really excites me for the rest of the season.”

Chelsea and Emma Hayes have the ambition to win the Champions League, and Pernille Harder has the experience and talent to be a significant part in achieving this goal. Surely Harder already know the mantra around here: score goals, win trophies.

Speaking of goals, Harder’s first Chelsea goal was a backheel flick that she absolutely meant. Just ask her!

“Yeah, I actually meant it! It was nice, always nice to get the first goal and not have to wait for it. That it could come so fast was really nice for me.”

-Pernille Harder; source: ChelseaFC

With that goalscoring record, who could argue?