Chelsea broke the Women’s Super League transfer record even as their men’s team sat out the January window.

While Premier League spending was down across the board to a combined £100m over the month, compared to last year’s record £815m as estimated by finance company Deloitte, an increasingly active WSL market peaked with the Blues’ move for Colombia forward Mayra Ramirez.

An initial 450,000 euros (£384,000), as stated by selling club Levante, is the English top flight’s highest ever fee – with add-ons worth 50,000 euros (£42,600) making it a potential world record in the women’s game.

Ramirez was recruited to cover for Sam Kerr’s expected season-long ACL absence while Manchester City replaced the similarly injured Jill Roord with Aston Villa’s Laura Blindkilde Brown.

With WSL sides increasingly following the lead of the men’s game in turning to the transfer market in response to injuries, Calum Ross, assistant director in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, told the PA news agency: “Player trading is a key part of any club’s business model, whether that’s in the women’s game or the men’s game.

“Obviously at the moment the values that we’re looking at are a lot more modest in the women’s game but we’d expect to see that growing in line with revenue.

“They’re all positive changes for the women’s game and it’s exciting to see that, and hopefully it does deliver the growth that it really deserves and is capable of.”

After lavish spending in recent windows, Chelsea were one of five men’s Premier League sides not to make a single January addition along with Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester United.

The slowdown has been attributed to the threat of sanctions under the league’s profit and sustainability rules, with the Toffees already docked 10 points this season – though spending over the full season still hit £2.4bn, second only to last season’s £2.7bn.

Ross said: “I think compliance with financial regulations is a key part of it.

“We’ve obviously seen the Premier League’s response to breaches of their regulations, which is heightening clubs’ awareness to comply, and it’s the first year of UEFA’s new squad cost rules for clubs participating in UEFA competitions.

“There’s other reasons as well. In the summer we saw transfers like (Jude) Bellingham, (Declan) Rice, (Harry) Kane, which then create that domino effect across the market. We’re probably seeing a moment to pause and reset after they’ve done a lot of that business in the summer.”

Only £30m was spent on deadline day on permanent moves into the Premier League, the majority of that money heading into the Sky Bet Championship as Crystal Palace signed Adam Wharton from Blackburn and Aston Villa brought in Middlesbrough’s Morgan Rogers. Radu Dragusin’s move to Tottenham for a reported £26.7m on January 11 remained the biggest of the month.

For the first time since the Chinese Super League boom of 2019, the Premier League was not the biggest global spender as Ligue 1 clubs in France splashed out 190m euros (£162m) and Brazil’s Serie A over £123m.

The Saudi Pro League was not in that bracket, spending barely £20m after its headline-making summer splurge had echoed that previously seen in China.

Jordan Henderson returned to Europe with Ajax after six months at Al-Ettifaq and other high-profile signings expressed discontent, but Ross said: “I don’t think the bubble’s starting to burst. I think it’s a similar story (to the Premier League) – they’ve invested heavily in the summer and there’s an opportunity in this window to reflect and reset.

“I certainly expect to see them back in the market in the summer, whether that’s to the same levels that we saw this summer is to be seen. It does seem there are strong business plans behind the Saudi Pro League but there obviously is a need for them to prioritise financial sustainability over the long term.”

Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw has been named Barclays Women’s Super League Player of the Month for December.

The accolade represents the first time the Jamaican has claimed the prize this season and comes after she was named Joie Player of the Month across the same period.

By netting a hat-trick in Manchester City's superb 4-1 win over Everton at the end of 2023, the clinical striker maintained her position as the division’s leading scorer so far this term with nine goals in as many matches.

Shaw's treble followed a strong display in City's 2-1 win over Aston Villa where Gareth Taylor's side came from a goal down to collect three points at the Joie Stadium.

But it was against the Toffees where the towering striker was at her scintillating best when she extinguished the disappointment of missing an early penalty to break the deadlock with a sublime chip past the hosts’ goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan.

The 26-year-old then doubled her and City’s tally at Walton Hall Park with a driven shot into the bottom corner, before Jill Roord extended the visitors’ lead further.

Following the interval, she collected the match ball when heading home in the 65th minute – which also signalled a perfect hat-trick.

“I am happy to win the award for the first time this year. December was a great month for us as a team and I am grateful to everyone who voted," Shaw said in an interview on the club's website.

“We’re getting into a really important part of the season now, so winning both our games in December has given us a big boost. Hopefully we can continue our strong form until the end of the season so we can make our fans happy," she added.

The Jamaican fended off tough competition from City teammate Lauren Hemp, Liverpool’s Taylor Hinds, Leicester’s Lena Petermann, Manchester United’s Ella Toone and Spurs’ Barbora Votikova.

Netherlands midfielder Jill Roord has returned to the Women’s Super League with a move to Manchester City, the club have announced.

The 26-year-old, who was with Arsenal from 2019 to 2021, joins City from Champions League runners-up Wolfsburg on a three-year deal.

The PA news agency understands City have paid a club-record fee in excess of £300,000 to sign Roord, scorer of 31 goals in 69 appearances across all competitions for Wolfsburg.

She has played 86 times for her country, helping them win Euro 2017 on home soil and finish as runners-up at the 2019 World Cup in France.

Roord, part of the Netherlands squad for this summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement from City: “I’m very happy and it’s a very proud feeling for me to sign for Manchester City.

“I have always thought that this was a fantastic club with lots of quality, and I’m super excited to start here.

“I really like the way that they play, and I feel that it suits me perfectly. There’s a lot of quality in the team, and it’s a young side with plenty of potential which is very important to me.

“I’ve always thought that the Women’s Super League is very competitive, so playing in England again is like a dream – I feel like I have developed a lot as a player during my time in Germany.

“In my conversations with Gareth (Taylor, the City manager), I heard everything that I wanted to hear – we think the same way about football which is important, and where he sees me in the team was ideal – it is the perfect fit.

“If you play for City, you compete for everything you are involved in and that is what we will be aiming to do – with the quality we have here, anything is possible so I hope that we will be very successful together.”

Taylor said: “We’re really pleased to have been able to secure Jill’s signature and bring her to the club.

“She has proven her worth in both England and Europe during her career so far, alongside on the international stage with the Netherlands – she is no stranger to success.

“She is a player whose calibre speaks for itself with what she has achieved, and we believe she will be a fantastic addition to our squad here at City.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming her aboard and working with her over the next three years.”

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