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The WSL 2020 summer transfer window was a wonderful carnage.
We thought it was very exciting when Manchester City signed Chloe Kelly in July, and then chaos broke out.
We had World Cup champions, Olympic gold medalists and Champions League winners descending into the league, the transfer record was broken, Lucy Bronze returned, and to top it off, Alex Morgan spontaneously joined Tottenham.
But while everyone was excited about their new recruits, Chelsea had someone who had been with the club for half a decade, but when the 2020/21 season starts it would feel like a new signing.
Fran Kirby, once the diminutive, short-haired future of English football after bursting onto the scene at the 2015 World Cup despite playing for the championship team Reading, had appeared only four times for the Blues during the campaign. previous.
Kirby was diagnosed with pericarditis, an inflammation of the lining around the heart, in November and admitted that she came close to throwing in the towel and turning her back on the game. He missed the rest of the season, but Chelsea coped with his absence and won the WSL title.
His front line, already making his eyes water, had seen the addition of Sam Kerr in January and then Pernille Harder in the summer, two of the best players in world football. It could have been easy to forget about Kirby.
But despite going nine months without kicking a ball competitively, the 27-year-old started running this period. At the Community Shield in late August, neither Chelsea nor City had played since February. Kirby hadn’t played since November. However, she seemed the smartest player on the field.
His performance was a sign of things to come. The England international has performed extensively for much of the season where her intricate bonding game, her vision, and her ability to hold onto her teammates have really shone through.
Against Reading in Chelsea’s last WSL performance, Kirby was ranked number ten, a position he has frequently held for the Lionesses, and took center stage.
The forward scored four times (including twice with a header despite being 157cm tall) in a devastating attacking performance. Her cohesion with Kerr was electric, she pounced on any truce at Reading’s bottom line and was very sharp in front of goal as the Blues took the winners 5-0.
Chelsea take on Manchester United on Sunday as the last remaining WSL undefeated teams go head-to-head. United have hardly been wrong this season, but with Kirby in the form of his life, his undefeated record will be threatened.