The five most significant WSL January moves

With more than 100 Women’s Super League transfers completed during the winter window, it was a period that changed the landscape of the women’s football market.

While title hopefuls Arsenal ultimately missed out on the world-record signing of Alessia Russo from Manchester United on deadline day, they were able to reinforce their squad during the window after losing players of the calibre of Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema to injury.

Leicester City also got some business done with a relegation battle in mind, bringing in the likes of Australia international Courtney Nevin and Germany’s Janina Leitzig, while 10th-placed Reading lost star striker Natasha Dowie on loan to Liverpool.

BBC Sport looks at five of the most significant winter-window moves in the English top flight.

England international Jordan Nobbs left Arsenal for Aston Villa after 12 years at a club with whom she won 12 trophies.

Her deal at Villa runs for 18 months, with the option to extend.

Nobbs had been used primarily as a substitute by Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall this season, and Villa were able to offer her the chance of more playing time in the build-up to the World Cup this summer.

“This is a big signing for us and Jordan is one of the country’s most decorated footballers,” said Villa manager Carla Ward.

“She’s a winner and will bring a wealth of experience that her new team-mates will thrive off.”

Euro 2022 winner Beth England joined Tottenham from Chelsea on a three-and-a-half-year contract in a move which broke the WSL transfer fee record.

England was a staple of the Chelsea side, and was particularly integral in the 2019-20 season.

Like Nobbs, her playing time had been restricted prior to her move.

England scored on her debut for Tottenham in their 2-1 defeat by Aston Villa in the WSL.

Though not a ‘transfer’, Liverpool defender Gilly Flaherty’s decision to retire from football during this window makes her worthy of inclusion in this list.

Flaherty brought to an end a 17-year playing career during which she won four WSL titles, seven Women’s FA Cups and a Uefa Cup.

She stepped away from the sport having played a record 177 times in the WSL.

Flaherty said: “Losing my dad just before Christmas has left me heartbroken – for 22 years we shared our love of football, and playing-wise I don’t want to carry on without him by my side.

“The time is right for me to be around my family and to be nearest to those closest to me.”

Manchester United had a good window, with France’s Estelle Cascarino among their signings.

The defender joined Marc Skinner’s side on loan from Paris St-Germain, where she won the Coupe de France last season.

Cascarino, whose twin sister Delphine starred at Euro 2022, said she was excited to be a part of the United squad.

“I want to grow as a player and a person, and help the team win trophies,” she said.

“On the pitch I am a fighter and like to help the team in both attack and defence. I cannot wait to get started here in England.”

Fans and pundits alike were surprised to see Mana Iwabuchi move to Tottenham.

Iwabuchi joined Spurs after struggling for playing time at north London rivals Arsenal.

She said: “I’m an intelligent player. I bring that on the pitch for the team and try to contribute. Now I’m a Spurs player so I try to do my best.”

Iwabuchi scored her first goal for Tottenham before the January transfer window was over – netting in Spurs’ 5-0 FA Cup fourth round win over the London City Lionesses.

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