There were a total of 74 permanent signings made by clubs in the Women’s Super League over the summer window, which closed exactly four months ago. Not every player has hit the ground running with their new teams — some like Thea Kyvåg have already departed after a brief stint for pastures anew.
Whilst there are multiple reasons players will struggle to settle at their new teams — like the injuries that have kept a couple of Chelsea’s new recruits off of the pitch, or coach Marc Skinner’s reluctance to let new players make an impact at Manchester United — there is still half a season left for most to prove themselves.
Others, however, have already bolstered their new teams and have transitioned with ease. Indeed, as we hit the halfway point of the season, the question of who has integrated best of the 74 is easier to answer than whether those who’ve struggled will continue to do so.
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So, after four months of seeing how these player acquisitions have panned out, here are the 10 top 2022-23 signings in the WSL — so far — in no particular order:
Aston Villa: MF Kenza Dali and FW Rachel Daly
As we have already seen in this winter window, Aston Villa manager Carla Ward has big plans — but the team has already had far more joy in attack this season since bringing in Kenza Dali from Everton and Rachel Daly from the Houston Dash. They arrived in separate transfers over the summer, but have together changed the look of the Villainesses.
Far from just having two players who were well adept with the pace of the league, both have helped Villa maximize their chances during games, with Daly at striker currently the joint-leading scorer in the WSL. For her part, Dali remains one of the biggest creative influences in the league and the attacking midfielder only looks set to have a deeper impact with any growing possession percentages the Villainesses can find over the second half of the season.
Brighton & Hove Albion: MF/FW Elisabeth Terland
It’s safe to say that Brighton have not had the smoothest season so far.
However, with a new coach and raft of new signings ahead of the second half of the season, things are poised to stabilize on the south coast.
Throughout the upheavals and early season wobbles, however, Norway’s Elisabeth Terland settled into the Brighton squad quickly, whether playing on the wing or up front, and became one of the better attacking threats over the first half of the campaign.
Everton: DF Katrine Veje
With Everton undergoing a rebuild this season, things haven’t always gone swimmingly for the Toffees and indeed, the team has struggled for goals so far this year. However, Veje, a full-back who can play on both sides, has consistently tried to help her team advance up the pitch and carve out chances.
Although no stranger to the league after spending a season with Arsenal several years ago, the Danish international has quickly taken on a more senior role with Everton since moving over the summer. With the pieces still falling into place on Merseyside, Veje’s willingness to get forward and exemplify the modern full-back role will be key for the team as they continue to grow and evolve under new coach, Brian Sørensen.
Liverpool: DF Emma Koivisto and DF Gilly Flaherty
Although results haven’t always gone Liverpool’s way this season, the Reds have been putting in some strong performances upon their return to WSL after a spell in the second tier. Keeping intact most of the same team who achieved promotion from the Championship, manager Matt Beard only lightly augmented his team ahead of the season — but his signings have proved to be shrewd ones.
Already established as one of the most reliable full-backs in WSL, Emma Koivisto has carried on at Liverpool as she did at Brighton, consistently offering forward movement from the right-back position. Likewise, central defender Gilly Flaherty has brought in her wealth of experience to help the Reds stay firm at the back and after a few defensive missteps, the team have further shored up their backline.
Manchester City: DF Kerstin Casparij
One of seven summer signings made by Man City, Dutch defender Kerstin Casparij has arguably had the most successful run in the Sky Blues squad — just ahead of Laia Aleixandri — as she has found firm footing since her move from Twente.
A stable right-back, Casparij brings consistency to the City team that’s still looking for its best form, with many of her fellow newcomers to the team still searching for their place in Manchester.
Manchester United: DF Maya Le Tissier
A young defender with a well-lauded amount of potential, it was of little surprise to see Maya Le Tissier adapt to her new team with ease, but her success at centre-back has also highlighted how much United’s other summer signings have struggled to break into the starting line-ups.
Where Le Tissier has thrived, fellow defensive summer signing, Aïssatou Tounkara has barely featured, but with the British 20-year-old looking so at home in the heart of the United defence, it’s hard to imagine a change to the status quo.
Tottenham Hotspur: MF Drew Spence
A team with plenty of promise, Spurs have failed to hit any dizzying heights so far this season with the majority of their summer signings failing to live up to the billing, yet, Drew Spence has been a welcome addition to the North London team.
One of Tottenham’s few goalscorers so far this season, Spence has shown his experience in WSL and has bolstered his team’s attack from midfield, offering bite to a mostly underwhelming attack.
West Ham United: FW Viviane Asseyi
Another team undergoing a bit of a facelift this season, West Ham made 12 signings over the summer following Paul Konchesky’s promotion to head coach. Although the Irons haven’t always dazzled this season, the team has come together in a way that makes sense.
Whilst striker Viviane Asseyi hasn’t been the only player who has impressed for the Hammers, the French international has quickly settled in at her new club, needing little time to adjust from the Frauen-Bundesliga. As the squad continues to grow over the second half of the season and partnerships continue to develop, Asseyi will only benefit more from the increased understanding across the squad.