There we have it, the summer transfer window closed for another year for the FA WSL and FA Championship and my oh my, it’s been a busy one for all involved!
It first opened way back on the 19th of June and Reading kept shtum for almost a month, much to the fear of Royals fans as contract expirations hit like a tonne of bricks!
So let’s take a look at how Reading have fared in the last three months with departures and arrivals at the club.
Jade Moore to Orlando Pride – this wasn’t strictly during the official transfer window but Moore left Reading in April for the US, just in time for the pandemic to hit and football to be brought to a halt. Marred with more bad luck, Pride had to withdraw from the Challenge Cup tournament due to a number of positive COVID-19 tests among both players and staff, she has since gone on loan to Athletico Madrid making her debut in their Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona.
Lisa-Marie Utland joined Rosenborg Kvinner – having spent just a year at Reading, Utland returned back home to Norway to her former team, who until this year were known as Sportsklubben Trondheims-Ørn before affiliating with men’s team Rosenborg BK.
Rachael Laws returned to Liverpool – Laws joined Reading in 2018 having spent the five previous years at Liverpool. Laws was second choice keeper at the club and made 13 appearances in two years. Berkshire club Woodley United will undoubtedly be gutted to see Laws leave too as she was coaching the men’s squad alongside her Reading ‘keeper role.
Maz Pacheco to West Ham – Pacheco joined Reading in 2018 from Doncaster Rovers Belles and made a total of 25 appearances for the Royals. She’s already established herself at international level in the youth squads, so a promising future is certainly ahead for her as she makes the move to the Hammers. She joins former manager Matt Beard who she played under whilst at Liverpool.
Millie Farrow, Sophie Howard and Remi Allen – this trio all put pen to paper as they signed for championship side Leicester City. Farrow and Howard both joined the club in 2018 and made a total of 31 appearances between them. Remi Allen has been a stalwart in midfield for Reading since signing in 2016 from Birmingham City. With 66 appearances and 14 goals under her belt, Remi will be returning to the first club she played for in Leicester. No doubt they will all be looking to make a return to the WSL as Leicester push for promotion.
Charlie Estcourt to the London Bees – Estcourt first joined Reading as a youth academy member, she moved to Chelsea in 2011 before returning to the Royals in 2015. She made 14 appearances in total for the club. She then made a loan move to Bristol City for the 2017/18 season with 13 appearances before going on loan once again to Charlton Athletic, scoring 1 goal in 11 appearances. As with Farrow, Howard and Allen, Estcourt will no doubt be looking to get the Bees into the WSL this season.
Mia Cruickshank to West Ham – There was no official statement from either clubs regarding this move but Cruickshank was named on the bench for West Ham’s fixture against TottenhamWhilst there’s been no official statement from either of the clubs, her social media activity suggests it’s a done deal, as well as the distinct lack of her profile on the Reading team page. The arrival of Emma Mitchell and Deanna Cooper, as well as academy captain Kiera Skeels and Lily Woodham making the step-up means the defender will possibly have struggled for minutes so the switch to the Hammers will be welcome.
Maxime Bennink and Jo Potter are the final two former players still yet to confirm where they have moved to after their Reading contracts expired in June.
Danielle Carter from Arsenal – What a way to kick off the transfer window for the Royals, with an Arsenal legend having spent 11 years at the club. Plagued by two ACL injuries in 14 months, Carter has spent most of her time on the sidelines since May 2018 at Arsenal but has shown a serious dedication to recovery this year and is a very welcome addition to the squad. A goal on her debut for Reading against none other than her former side. Carter will wear the number 18 shirt.
Emma Mitchell from Arsenal – Mitchell was announced shortly after Carter. The Scottish international initially began her senior career at Glasgow City in 2008 before spending a year at German club SGS Essen in January of the 2013 season. But, after just four months she made a permanent move to Arsenal where she made 74 appearances securing her spot as a versatile, athletic left back and nabbing herself 3 goals in the process between 2013 and 2020. Another great addition to the defensive line in the Royals squad. Mitchell will wear the number 3 shirt.
Deanna Cooper from Chelsea – Another move from North London to the Royal county, Cooper is expected to slot in effortlessly alongside Emma Mitchell in the defensive line. She begun her career with four years at Gillingham, then moved to Brighton & Hove Albion in 2014 before making a switch to London Bees, two years later. Cooper made a total of 29 appearances for Chelsea during her 3 year stint, which included 3 goals for the defender. Incidentally, her last goal was a 30 yard power shot against Reading. Cooper will wear the number 14 shirt.
Erin Nayler from Bordeaux – Nayler initially started out playing in her native country of New Zealand before making the move to the US to play for Sky Blue FC under her former manager in 2016, however after just 26 days and no appearances in goal she was let go by the club. Somewhat more successful at international level, she continued to be first-choice keeper for the Ferns, which attracted attention from French champions Lyon, but unfortunately, she failed to make any appearances here too as third-choice keeper. She was loaned to Grenoble Foot 38 in 2017 and made 11 appearances, before making a permanent move to Division 1 FC Girondins de Bordeaux in the same year. She made 32 appearances for the club with her clean sheet percentage improving by 10% in the 3 years spent at the club. Moloney is Reading’s firm number one choice so we’re Nayler is expected to fulfil the place of second place keeper after the departure of Rachael Laws. Nayler will wear the number 16 shirt.
Jess Fishlock on loan from OL Reign – With the cancellation of the NWSL due to coronavirus, Fishlock was looking at almost 18 months out of the game having been injured. She was keen to get some game time under her belt as international qualifiers take place in just a matter of weeks. Fishlock will look to make an impact in central midfield as a pace box to box player. Fishlock will wear the number 8 shirt.
Jeon Ga-eul from Bristol City – A surprise signing after the big names of Carter, Mitchell and Fishlock, but entirely welcome nonetheless with 38 goals and 101 appearances for South Korea, that makes Jeon Ga-eul the fifth most capped player in the country’s history and their second-highest goal scorer. She made her English debut when she joined Bristol City in January this year, where she featured in the team’s Women’s FA Cup fourth-round victory over Durham, but due to the weather and the coronavirus pandemic she’s seen virtually no game time in the UK. Another very exciting addition to the squad. Ga-eul will wear the number 7 shirt.
Also worth noting is the number of academy players who have made the step up to the senior squad. Six new additions in Kiera Skeels (29), Lily Woodham (28), Bethan Roberts (31), Molly Childerhouse (32), Sophie Quirk (35) and Emma Harries (36).