Everton to sign quartet of international stars in major statement of intent

Italy midfielder Aurora Galli is to join Everton

Credit: AFP

Women’s Super League club Everton are closing in on the signings of a quartet of international stars, Telegraph Sport can reveal, with Juventus’ Aurora Galli, Germany defender Leonie Maier, France winger Kenza Dali and Sweden striker Anna Anvegard all poised to move to the Merseyside outfit.

Technically-gifted Italy midfielder Galli’s move will make history, as she will become the first Italian player to play in the WSL. The 24 year-old, who began her career at Inter Milan, has helped Juventus lift four consecutive Serie A titles and was a prominent part of the Italy side that reached the quarter-finals of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Her long-range strike for her country against Jamaica in the group stage was shortlisted for goal of the tournament in a game in which she scored twice as the Azzurri won 5-0. Galli added another goal in the last-16, finding the bottom corner from outside the box in Italy’s 2-0 victory over China, and her runs from deep and eye for goal from midfield will no doubt entertain Everton supporters.

Full-back Maier, 28, will move at the end of her contract with Arsenal, which expires on June 30 after two years in north London. Arsenal announced on June 3 that she would be leaving the club and her acquisition by Everton will be seen as a significant coup, with the former Bayern Munich star – and two-time Bundesliga champion – well-regarded across the continent.

She also has strong pedigree with her country’s national side, helping Germany win the Women’s Euro 2013 title and starting in the final in Sweden, as well as starting the Olympic final at Rio 2016, when her side won the gold medal.

Outgoing West Ham midfielder Dali, 29, was among eight players whom the East Londoners said would be leaving the club at the end of the season, and interest in the former Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain regular is understood to have been high. Arsenal were said to be keen on her signature, but she has chosen Everton.

Dali is also in good form, scoring the only goal of the game as France beat Germany in a friendly on June 10 – a dipping effort from range which stole the headlines. For West Ham, she scored three times and provided three assists in 18 WSL appearances last term.

Anvegard, 24, arrives from Rosengard after helping the Swedish club reach last season’s European quarter-finals. She is a five-time winner of the Golden Boot award in her home country and was part of the Sweden squad that finished third at the last World Cup.

Adding four players with such extensive international experience will be a major boost for Everton, who finished fifth in the WSL last season and have ambitions to compete for a place in the top three and Champions League qualification.

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Analysis: WSL still the place to be in the eyes of Europe’s elite

The 2020 summer transfer window was unlike any other in WSL history, with more than half of the players moving here from outside the United Kingdom.

Then, after the introduction of new, post-Brexit visa rules for English clubs with a points-based system, many expected that trend to change and – in January’s window – two thirds of the new signings made by WSL clubs were either English or signed from another English club.

Numerous sources have said the new system is making it much tougher to sign young, foreign gems or “diamonds in the rough”. However, the points rules do enable clubs to sign more established players with a suitable track record in top-level competitions, and Everton’s new trio comfortably fit the bill.

Their arrivals are also consistent with a widely-held view among the key stakeholders at present that – after the confirmation of the WSL’s new landmark TV broadcasting deal with the BBC and Sky Sports – the WSL is seen as the league to be in across the continent, especially for Europe’s best talents.

And after 10 years, the division continues to go global. With Galli’s arrival, Italy will become the 33rd different country to be represented by a player in the WSL since the league’s inception in 2011. We can expect that tally to rise further in the not-too-distant future.

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