January transfer window: Grading big signings in women's soccer

How Mayra Ramirez will help build Chelsea's attack (2:18)

Sophie Lawson takes a look at how new signing Mayra Ramirez will fit into Chelsea's front line. (2:18)

The amount of money spent in the transfer window may not be comparable to the men (a contrast shown by Mayra Ramirez's global transfer record of £386,000 when moving from Manchester City to Barcelona in 2022 against the £198 million PSG paid to sign Neymar from Barcelona in 2017), but records were still broken across the women's game last summer.

However, that trend did not continue in January. In total, 97 deals were made and Ramirez's record-breaking move to Chelsea was among them, but it was relatively quiet across the board.

Here are grades for all the major confirmed transfers in the women's game across Europe, with each listed in order of date and then highest fee.

All fees are reported unless confirmed with an asterisk (*).

Jan. 31


Aston Villa: C
Manchester City: B+

It's not been the best season for Villa so far, and losing one of their most highly rated players is going to sting. But with City triggering Blindkilde Brown's release clause, there was little the Midlands club could do but swiftly look for a replacement for the 20-year-old (Liverpool midfielder Miri Taylor on loan) who had become a regular in the team.

Blindkilde-Brown is one of three deadline-day signings made by City, along with 18-year-olds Poppy Pritchard and Tara O'Hanlon, very much continuing the club's strong history when it comes to valuing and trying to develop youth and homegrown players.

The question mark for Gareth Taylor is if he can be as successful as integrating those players and giving them key minutes as his predecessor Nick Cushing did with the likes of Keira Walsh and Georgia Stanway. But, for now, there can be no arguing that City have pulled off a coup, bringing in a trio of top young players.


Gotham: B+
Brighton: B+

Given her career had been marred by injury, Gotham took a gamble to bring Smith in 2022 and helped complete her reinvention from full-back to forward. Although not seeing the best goal return over her time at the club, Smith's experience was a boost as the side went through something of a reinvention themselves.

Able to lead the line, play on the wing or drop to full-back, Smith adds a variety of options for Brighton and her natural athleticism and speed up and down the pitch will be key as they strengthen their counter-attacking game. Already coming into a squad of mixed experience, Smith's skillset will add yet another dimension to Mel Phillips' team.

Jan. 27


AC Milan: B

Despite suffering back-to-back ACL injuries during her time with NWSL side Racing Louisville, Nadim still managed to contribute 10 goals across three seasons and is the club's top goal scorer in their short history.

Now 36, and with her best playing years behind her, Nadim's move to Milan came as something of a surprise but will offer the Denmark international an interesting new challenge. Signed until the end of the season, it will be interesting to see how much of an impact she can have, with the club needing to evolve to keep up with the likes of Roma and Juventus.

Jan. 26


Levante: A+
Chelsea: B+

Brought in from Sporting Huelva ahead of the 2022-23 season, with the Colombia attacker finding the back of the net 12 times in 61 games for the Andalusian minnows, Levante have benefited greatly from Ramírez's goals since she's been at the club. Now facing financial difficulties, the Frogs have made a world record €450,000, plus another possible €50,000 in add-ons.

Over the years, Chelsea have shown they're not shy when it comes to breaking the bank for players and setting new transfer records as they did back in 2015 with Fran Kirby. Still only 24, Ramírez still has plenty of room for development but will be able to contribute goals and assists from the start, making up for the loss of Sam Kerr and adding different options to Chelsea's attack.

Jan. 25


Arsenal: C
Madrid CFF: B+

There is no question that Gio has potential, as could be seen during her loan spell at Levante, but 1½ years into her spell with Arsenal her future is uncertain. Clearly the 20-year-old forward needs to develop further, and the best place for that is away from London Colney, but will there be a space for her in the team when she returns?

Well known to Madrid CFF, having broken into the senior squad there during a three-year spell, the independent team from the Spanish capital will hope Gio hits the ground running for the second half of the season to help them hang onto a top-three spot. However, not having played so far this season, and managing less than four hours of game time last season, it might take some time for her to get up to speed.

Jan. 24


Spurs: C
Leicester City: B+

A good prospect when she was signed from Aston Villa, Ale was one of the many players who struggled for form as Spurs laboured last season. Now, under Robert Vilahamn, the young defender has barely seen any time on the pitch. A victim of Spurs' muddled recruitment under multiple different coaches, what should have been a strong signing has fallen flat.

As well as building out his squad to be more competitive, Leicester boss Willie Kirk has a proven record when it comes to developing young players and, as we saw this time last year with Ruby Mace, can provide opportunities for those struggling for minutes. If Ale can impress, Kirk could look to make the deal a permanent one with her Spurs contract running out at the end of this season.

Jan. 20


Manchester City: C-
Hammarby: A

A move that failed to work out despite her talent, Blakstad never managed to settle at City. Often used as a full-back, rather than in attack where she's more naturally comfortable, she couldn't fight for a spot in the team and leaves Manchester without making any waves.

Despite having just won the Swedish title, Hammarby have lost a host of key players and bringing in a player who has proved herself in both Sweden and Norway will be vital in rebuilding the squad for the new year. After a forgettable spell in the WSL, a fresh start should be the opportunity for Blakstad to reignite her career.

Jan. 16


Inter: C
Roma: B

A key part of the Inter squad over the last 2½ seasons, the Nerazzurre's fondness for playing a back three has shown Sønstevold at her adaptable best, moving from centre-back to right wing-back, to right midfield, and back to centre-back again. Losing the Norway international to the team leading the table in Italy is a sizable sting given Inter still lag a long way behind the top three.

For all Roma's prowess in midfield and attack, a lack of defensive depth has been the biggest worry for the Giallorosse. While Sønstevold's move might be seen as an immediate reaction to Eseosa Aigbogun's ACL injury this month, the defender will be able to offer coach Alessandro Spugna a number of options. A team that like to play with more of a fluid style, bringing in a player who can transition from defence to midfield would have been a conscious decision.

Jan. 15


Juventus: C
Bayern: B

Having only recently extended her contract with Juventus, the news of Sembrant's departure has come as a surprise to many but the 36-year-old has frequently found herself relegated to the bench this season. Between the three different competitions Bayern are in, she should find the minutes she's looking for in Bavaria.

Signed while compatriot Magda Eriksson is out with a foot injury, Sembrant will provide useful cover and is likely to split the load of games with Tainara, adding vast experience to the Bayern backline.


Juventus: A-

Only signed this summer from Levante, Calligaris has found her playing time limited in the French capital thanks to the rise of 21-year-old Jade Le Guilly. So, like many other players, has opted to make a short-term move in search of minutes. Without an option to make the loan permanent, PSG seemingly have bigger plans for Calligaris beyond this season.

Sometimes there are moves that you just know make sense. There is something about that with Calligaris' loan to Turin and, with more rumoured defensive departures, the Switzerland international could yet be a key player in the second half of the season.

Jan. 13


Bayern Munich: B-
Inter: B+

Having managed just four starts for Bayern so far this season, Magull had fallen out of favour, with youth the priority for coach Alexander Straus. Having grown into a regular starter for Germany over her 5½ years at Bayern, the club have certainly had their money's worth from the 29-year-old and the move frees up more space for them to continue to evolve.

Magull's experience will be sizable for Inter as they look to kick on with their own development in Serie A and challenge Roma and Juventus. If coach Rita Guarino can strike the right balance, Magull's signing could be key to unleashing the firepower in the squad and allowing the likes of Haley Bugeja, Agnese Bonfantini and Ajara Nchout to shine.


Arsenal: B-
Everton: B+

Although Kühl impressed for Arsenal when she played, the young Dane found her minutes limited as the Gunners boast comfortable depth in midfield. She can keep developing at Everton for the rest of the season and that has long-term benefits for the London club.

Kühl was coached by Everton boss Brian Sørensen at Nordsjælland, so the coach knows exactly what type of player he's getting and how best to improve her.


Everton: B-

Utilised as a substitute more than a starter over her season in North Carolina, Madsen's impact at the Courage may well be diluted down to her role in their win over Racing in May, further highlighting why the two opted to go separate ways this winter, with the NWSL side strengthening through the draft.

Struggling with injuries, anyone through the doors at Finch Farm will be a benefit for Everton. And although they had to make up for an attacking shortfall with the news of Nicoline Sørensen's early retirement, the Toffees' main need is getting some defenders into the squad.

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Jan. 11


Arsenal: B+

As a "restricted free agent," there was only so much the North Carolina Courage could do about Fox this winter, but the club have at least moved quickly to bring in a replacement in the shape of Bianca St-Georges, meaning they shouldn't be too hampered by losing the U.S. international.

Signed as a right-back by Arsenal, Fox is equally adept on the left side of the defence and should suit Arsenal's transitional style. She'll also offer more attacking bite from a full-back role than her predecessor, Noelle Maritz, who departed for Aston Villa last week.

Jan. 10


Everton: A
Chelsea: B-

Björn's departure has been on the cards since last summer, so Everton will be happy that they got a reported a six-figure deal for the Sweden international, after an initial low-ball attempt from Real Madrid, although they'll need to re-invest the money wisely.

Clearly needing an experienced option at centre-back while Millie Bright remains out injured, Björn certainly ticks that box for the Blues and, like many of coach Emma Hayes' recent signings, offers positional flexibility as a central defender, full-back or midfielder.


JEF United: B-
Eintracht Frankfurt: A-

Having spent six years at JEF, it was an emotional goodbye for Chiba. But like so many of her Japanese countrywomen, it was one that came at the right time to continue her development. However it does rather leave JEF a little short in attack.

A versatile attacker who can play anywhere across the front line, Chiba is happy to lean into her physicality. And the move to Germany looks to be the right fit for both player and club. Sitting third in the Frauen-Bundesliga this season, options at the top end of the pitch have been short for the Eagles but adding the Japan international into the fold should open up new ways to get at the opposition.

Jan. 6


Arsenal: B
Aston Villa: B

Maritz spent 3½ consistent years in north London, but it was clear both club and player were ready for a new chapter. The Gunners did well to get a fee, rather than lose the Switzerland defender on a free at the end of this season.

The story of Aston Villa's first half of the season suggests they have needs elsewhere on the pitch, but there's no question Maritz's experience will be of use to boss Carla Ward.

Jan. 5


San Diego Wave: B
Bristol City: A

It was always going to be a tough ask for Yanez to displace Kaileen Sheridan at the Wave, but the former London City Lioness stepped up when needed. Getting some money back for her transfer will been a bonus for the Wave, who have other options as a backup goalkeeper.

The Robins' luck with goalkeepers so far this season hasn't been great, with captain and No. 1 Fran Bentley going down injured in the first game of the season, which led to a recall for Olivia Clark from her loan at Watford. Yanez's arrival brings some much-needed experience between the sticks for Bristol.


West Ham United: A

It could be a long, cold winter for Gorry's former club Vittsjö, who have lost multiple key players on free transfers and now find themselves with an increasingly polarised squad in the Swedish Damallsvenskan.

With captain Dagný Brynjarsdóttir unable to feature this season as she is pregnant with her second child, the West Ham midfield has missed her experience and strength. Although Gorry plays a deeper role than the Iceland international, her presence will be a sizable boost for the Hammers as they look to fully settle into the Rehanne Skinner era.


Leicester City: A

Like fellow Damallsvenskan teams Vittsjö and Hammarby, Linköping will be licking their wounds after losing such a vital player on a free transfer.

Indeed, after coming back from an ACL injury there were few players who impressed as much in the league as Momiki and Leicester's ability to persuade the Japan international midfielder to move to the King Power stadium shows what manager Willie Kirk is building. Should Momiki manage to transfer her form over to the WSL, she'll likely go down as one of the savviest signings of the winter.

Jan. 3


Tottenham: B
West Ham: A

Zadorsky played a key role under Rehanne Skinner during her time managing Spurs, but the Canada international has struggled for minutes under new boss Robert Vilahamn. Still a vital part of the Canada backline, a loan move suits all parties.

Skinner is now at West Ham, so being able to bring in Zadorsky (who she made captain at Spurs) further reinforces that she's put her own stamp on the squad. Although Mewis and Gorry will be the bigger conversation points from this window, the 31-year-old Zadorsky will add much-needed stability in the backline and help the team build out.


Tottenham: A-

It was at Vittsjö that the young Australia defender really grew into her ability, but there was always the chance she would leave to continue her development elsewhere.

Having spent a sizable chunk of his first half-season with Spurs playing players out of position, it wasn't overly clear what coach Robert Vilahamn's plans were for this window. But Spurs are getting a versatile defender who can cover centrally as well as at full-back, and she's only 22.

Jan. 2


Tottenham: A

As one of the most exciting, young attacking players coming through at Hammarby, winger Vinberg was on the radar of most of Europe's top teams.

Having fought off rivals from the top end of the WSL for her signature, Spurs pulled off something of a coup in convincing the 20-year-old Sweden international to join. She is likely to be key in helping them continue to develop their style under Vilahamn.

Jan. 1


West Ham United: A-

Although Mewis might not be the first name to spring to mind when considering Gotham's historic season in NSWL, when they won the championship, the well-travelled midfielder played her role for the Bats. But in mutually dissolving her contract, Gotham have not only allowed Mewis to take the next step in her career with ease, they have freed up a much-needed roster spot in the process.

Enjoying the best spell of her career, the USWNT midfielder will be another player who can add much-needed experience and nous to a West Ham team yet to hit their stride. Adept at scoring, assisting and doing a sizable amount of work off the ball, Mewis will be important for Skinner as the coach looks to turn the Irons' fortunes around.


Leicester City: B

An ever-present for Linköping since her move from the Washington Spirit, the Damallsvenskan side will miss Takarada's consistency. But, like so many other Swedish teams, were unable to stop their player moving on a free after the conclusion of the season.

Needing to strengthen in midfield as well as at the back, the Foxes made an astute first signing. The 23-year-old Japan international is adept across the backline, as well as in the middle of the park, allowing tactical flexibility if needed during the game.


Tottenham: B

A veteran of over 100 matches for China, Wang's impact at Racing Louisville was limited. Although that is as much about the club's lack of cohesion as anything.

Arriving in North London without a run of good form behind her, Wang should suit Vilahamn's style, with her versatility an added bonus. Although with two forgettable spells outside of the Chinese Women's Super League (at Racing and PSG) under her belt, Wang will be hoping it's third time lucky with Spurs.