If you like your Chelsea incoming transfer business done early then the women’s team is the place for you.
We’ve now added a fifth first-team-caliber player in goalkeeper Hannah Hampton, one of the England national team’s brightest talents. Hampton chose to sign with Chelsea after letting her contract at Aston Villa expire.
Prior to the move there was some thought that Hampton would go on loan, as her signing would give Chelsea four senior team goalkeepers (Ann-Katrin Berger, Zećira Mušović, and March signing Nicky Evrard), plus 20-year-old academy talent Emily Orman who served as the club’s third-choice last season.
However, reports have suggested that Hampton may stick around the first-team to help her acclimate into the team and team culture. If so, things will be a bit crowded in keeper’s meetings. Surely someone will go on loan. It won’t be presumptive starter Berger (32), but could be Mušović (27), Evrard (28) or Hampton (22).
We’ll have to assume there’s already a plan in place that hasn’t been revealed, but that’s a lot of keepers and all around the same age group, bar Hampton.
Anyway, Hampton is a very fun signing for her age and talent level. She’s an exceptional distributor, capable of pinging balls with accuracy and with either foot. She can be error-prone at times, and like all ball-playing goalkeepers who relish occasions to masquerade as a midfielder, her confidence on the ball can backfire. However, her accuracy is well worth cultivating that skillset rather than restricting it.
However, Hampton does need to improve her shot stopping. While a good athlete with quick reflexes, at 5’8 she’s Chelsea’s shortest keeper (even including Orman, who is 6’) and can get caught under long range shots. The idea that Chelsea’s staff would rather keep her around to improve these skills rather than send her on loan makes sense, especially as she’s been playing double digit WSL matches since 2018-19.
Basically, Hampton is a year or two of solid growth away from being one of the most complete keepers in the world. Chelsea may have taken a slight gamble here considering the crowd at the position, but a three-year contract gives us ample time to see if we just signed our keeper of the future.