BY PAUL LAGAN
Chelsea has signed super striker Sam Kerr on a two and a half year deal ending intense speculation about her future and adding intense pressure on forward Beth England.
The Australian forward, 26, will join up with the Blues in January when the transfer window officially opens.
Kerr will go on a three-week break from football following last night’s 1-0 win for Australia against Chile in a friendly.
She will wear the No 20 shirt with Jonna Andersson changing to 25.
The number 8 shirt remains vacant fueling speculation that Hayes will go into the transfer market again in January – this time targeting a midfielder.
Kerr said: “I want team success and I don’t want it to come easy.
“I feel Chelsea have been building something special over the years and I want to be a part of that – I want to lift some trophies.”
Chelsea boss Emma Hayes said: “Sam has proved time and time again in the NWSL that she is a prolific goalscorer. She’s won the golden boot many times and she’s a player that can make things happen, but she’s also a fantastic team player.
“The fact she chose Chelsea when she could have gone to any club in the world is a testament to the players and the staff here because she saw this is the best place for her to grow and take the next step in her career. That’s a wonderful compliment to us all.”
Chelsea are top of the WSL1 and face Manchester United on Sunday at home at Kingsmeadow. The signing of hot-shot Kerr will put added pressure on England Striker Beth England. How she responds will determine the success of the Blues as they bid to retain their unbeaten status against new outfit United and heap further pressure on chasing Arsenal and Manchester City.
Beth England scored for England in last night’s 3-2 friendly win in the Cezch Republic.
Kerr had been splitting her playing time between Perth Glory in the Australian W-League from October to April and Chicago Red Stars in America’s National Women’s Soccer League from April to September.
She was recently named the NWSL’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) after scoring a record 19 goals in 23 games to secure a third-consecutive golden boot.
This was despite being absent for part of the season because of this summer’s World Cup. Kerr helped Chicago Red Stars to the NWSL Championship final when she scored the only goal in the play-off semi-final against Portland Thorns.
However, the Australian forward missed out on clinching the title after the Red Stars suffered a defeat to North Carolina Courage. On the international stage, Kerr made her debut for the Matildas at just 15 and has gone on to score 38 times for her country, including five goals at this year’s World Cup, and she was recently a finalist for the Best Women’s Player at the 2019 FIFA Football Awards as well as being a Ballon d’Or nominee. Ahead of her move to Chelsea, Kerr,
Kerr has blistering pace and is skipper of the Australian national team.
She is the all-time leading goalscorer in the W-League with 70 goals and has netted a further 69 in the USA having represented Western New York Flash, Sky Blue FC and Chicago, claiming three golden boots and two MVPs.
Numerous milestones and individual honours have been ticked off, including being the first Australian (male or female) to score a hat-trick at a World Cup, being named as the 2017 Asian Football Confederation’s Women’s Footballer of the Year, and receiving awards for Best International Women’s Footballer and the Best Player in the NWSL at the 2019 ESPY Awards. The West Australian received the Young Australian of the Year aw