Marc Skinner, the manager of Manchester United, has said that skyrocketing transfer fees could further divide the women’s football pyramid. Last week, Bethany England moved from Chelsea to Tottenham for an undisclosed amount that is thought to be a Women’s Super League record.
Meanwhile, Barcelona signed Keira Walsh to a deal that is thought to be the most lucrative ever signed by a female footballer. Skinner was pleased that players were getting paid more, but he was concerned about the rising costs of professional football.
He said, “It’s good for the game, bad for the players. There’s more emphasis on winning, which is better for the owners.”
“It will be good, but there will be some costs when it does happen. Some clubs will be able to pay for it and keep growing, but others will have to find a different way to do things.”
The Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo reported that Barcelona had paid more than 350,000 euros (£310,000) for Walsh’s transfer. But the women’s general manager at Barcelona, Markel Zubizarreta, said the figure was less than that. He did not specify how much less.
Before Walsh moved, it was thought that Pernille Harder held the record. Her deal with Chelsea was thought to be worth about £250,000. The team coached by Skinner is in third place in the Women’s Super League.
They have 22 points and are five points behind the leaders, Chelsea. However, both United and Arsenal, who are in second place with 24 points, have a game in hand. On Sunday, United plays Liverpool, which is in ninth place. On the same day, the top two teams play at the Emirates, so a win for Skinner’s team would close the gap.
Playing in the Women’s Super League is a savvy career move for many United players. Players know that the US, who finished third at this summer’s World Cup, will be seen as favorites for next summer’s tournament and that a good performance at the World Cup can lead to lucrative endorsements.
With the money, not to mention time and volunteers devoted to the WSL, it would be easier for them to compete. When England left the three-time defending champions, Chelsea, the next day, Arsenal mainstay Jordan Nobbs followed suit by signing with Aston Villa.
Many think both moves were made to impress England head coach Sarina Wiegman before the World Cup. Skinner was wary of the expensive deals big-name players often make with smaller clubs.
However, he did agree that, in theory at least, big-name players moving to lower-level clubs could only positively affect the overall picture.
He also said, “I think it’s a good sign that clubs are willing to spend money. I’ve been to clubs where it’s hard to get people to join. I’m not surprised that people want to play them because they offer players a chance to develop their skills.”
“I think it will make the league more exciting. Those players will make their teams better and challenge us and everyone else above and below us.”
People Also Read: