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Keira Walsh completes Barcelona transfer for world record fee

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Barcelona Femini have confirmed the signing of England midfielder Keira Walsh from Manchester City.

Walsh, who became a Euro 2022 champion this summer and was named in the team of the tournament for her exploits with the Lionesses, has signed a three-year contract until 2025.

90min revealed on Tuesday that Barça were confident of completing the deal ahead of Wednesday night’s Spanish transfer deadline, having already reached an agreement in principle over personal with Walsh and her representatives.

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The agreed fee, reported in Spain late on Tuesday to be €400,000 (£344,000), sets a new world record for a transfer in women’s football, smashing the previous mark when Pernille Harder swapped Wolfsburg for Chelsea in 2020.

Walsh played for England on Tuesday in a 10-0 Word Cup qualifying win over Luxembourg. She will link up with her new Barcelona teammates in the coming days once released from international duty.

Having made her senior club debut at 17, Walsh established herself as a key player for Manchester City as a 20-year-old in 2017 and has become increasingly important for England in recent years.

Now 25, she is widely recognised as one of the best central midfielders in the world and Barcelona have been keen to add her to their ranks as they seek to strengthen and reclaim their crown in the Champions League after losing last season’s final to Lyon.

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The Catalans will be without captain Alexia Putellas for the majority of this season and have also lost striker Jenni Hermoso to Pachuca in Mexico.

But right-back Lucy Bronze has already made the switch from Manchester City this summer, while Walsh has also seen former midfield partners Caroline Weir and Georgia Stanway leave Manchester for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively.

Manchester City are no longer able to offer Champions League football this season, having been knocked out in the first qualifying round by Real Madrid – Weir scored the decisive goal.

For more from Jamie Spencer, follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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EPL

RUMOUR: Man Utd could launch shock Pickford swoop as they consider letting De Gea go

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RUMOUR: Man Utd could launch shock Pickford swoop as they consider letting De Gea go

Manchester United may consider a shock bid for Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the midst of uncertainty encompassing David De Gea’s future, reports propose.

As per the Telegraph, United are not persuaded they need to broaden De Gea’s agreement, which runs out in June and procures him an astounding £350,000, and could allow him to go free of charge in June.

The Spanish shot-stopper, who was omitted from Luis Enrique’s Spain squad for the international break, suffered a poor start to the season with a raft of errors most notably at Brentford.

And United are also dealing with a high wage bill that reached a Premier League record of £384million last season.

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The Red Devils announced earlier this week that their salaries have increased by a whopping £61.6m from the previous year.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s return as well as Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane’s arrivals led to a 19.1 per cent increase in their salary bill as well as a net loss amounting to £115.5m.

United are assessing their long-term plans and a change between the sticks can’t be ruled out, even though De Gea, 31, has improved recently and has been integral in the last 11 years at Old Trafford.

That could bring England’s No1 Pickford, 28, into the frame come January.

The Everton shot stopper has various clubs carefully monitoring his situation as he will have just one year left on his Everton contract at the end of the season.

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The England international is also a homegrown player, which is very appealing to his suitors.

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Rob Page says Wales ‘will be in contact’ with LAFC regarding Gareth Bale’s World Cup fitness

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Wales boss Rob Page has revealed he’ll remain in close contact with LAFC regarding Gareth Bale’s fitness as the World Cup approaches.

Bale played the full 90 minutes as Wales lost 1-0 against Poland on Sunday in a result that confirmed their relegation from their UEFA Nations League group.

However, that’s the first time the 33-year-old has managed a full game at any level since March of this year, while he hasn’t gone 90 at club level since a La Liga match against Getafe for Real Madrid in April 2020.

Wales’ next game is their World Cup Group B opener against the United States on November 21. Before then, it’s vital Bale plays as many minutes as possible in the MLS regular season and Playoffs for LAFC.

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“They want Gareth available for them and we want him in the physical position for the first [World Cup] game against the USA. We will be in contact with them and make sure he is in the right place,” Page said of Bale’s situation at LAFC, where only two of the forward’s 11 appearances have been from the start.

“What he does from now until the first game, we will be in contact with the club and help manage those minutes. They are a good outfit, LA, so they will know exactly how to get him from where he is now to full fitness, which is 90 minutes week in, week out.”

LAFC are level on 64 points with the Philadelphia Union at the top of the overall MLS standings. The Black and Gold have just two more regular season games remaining – away to the Portland Timbers and at home against Nashville SC – before they begin their Playoffs run.

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Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.



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WSL team of the week: gameweek 2

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Attendance records were sent tumbling during gameweek two of the WSL, with the north London and Merseyside derby both attracting five-figure crowds at the Emirates and Anfield.

On the pitch, Arsenal and Everton both got the better of their local rivals, while there was a first win of the season for Chelsea.

But which players stood out in particular? Here’s 90min’s WSL team of the week for gameweek two.

Hannah Blundell

Blundell was on the score sheet for United / Justin Setterfield/GettyImages

GK: Megan Walsh (Brighton) – Helped Brighton to their first three points of the season by keeping Reading at bay with a number of fine saves. Her reaction stop to tip away a Lauren Wade header in the second half was arguably the pick of the bunch.

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RB: Ona Batlle (Manchester United) – Carried on from where she left off last week with another terrific display. A constant threat going forward, grazed the bar in the first half and set up United’s second with a clever cut back from the byline.

CB: Katrina Veje (Everton) – An energetic, all action display. Set up Everton’s first with a teasing corner delivery, acted as a real creative outlet for her side despite operating as a left centre back in a back three, and helped preserve a clean sheet as Everton recorded a famous Merseyside derby victory.

CB: Rafaelle (Arsenal) – Effortlessly cool with the ball at her feet when under pressure deep in her own half, helping Arsenal bypass the Tottenham press. On the score sheet with a towering header, rising above two Tottenham defenders to power home.

LB: Hannah Blundell (Manchester United) – On the score sheet with her first goal for Manchester United – and first WSL goal since the 2018/19 season, calmly slotting home from the edge of the area.

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Vivianne Miedema

Miedema was on target for Arsenal / Clive Rose/GettyImages

CM: Nathalie Bjorn (Everton) – Grabbed the assist for Everton’s second, winning a loose ball back herself in the middle of the park before sending Park scampering away with a terrific pass over the top. Worked hard and broke up play impressively throughout.

CM: Kim Little (Arsenal) – Another massive performance from the Arsenal captain. As ever efficient in possession and so good in tight spaces, but did so much important defensive work for the Gunners, breaking up play and wrestling back possession on numerous occasions.

CAM: Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal) – Opened her account for the season with a north London derby brace – the first a typically cool finish, the second a deft header. Combined well with the Arsenal front three and continues to make the number 10 role her own.

Jess Park

Park opened her Everton account at Anfield / Charlotte Tattersall/GettyImages

FW: Jess Park (Everton) – An electric first WSL start for Everton from Park. Demonstrated her pace and skill to burst beyond the Liverpool backline and cooly round Rachel Laws for her side’s second, before intelligently picking out Hanna Bennison for Everton’s third. The makings of a perfect loan move for both parties.

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FW: Caitlin Foord (Arsenal) – Voted player of the match on a historic day at the Emirates. Ran the channels, linked play and didn’t give the Spurs backline a moment’s respite. Set up Arsenal’s second by winning the ball off Evelina Summanen deep in the Spurs half and playing in Miedema.

FW: Lauren James (Chelsea) – Oozed class from start to finish. Frequent flashes of genius with her flicks and quick feet, and caused the Manchester City backline all sorts of problems with her directness and driving runs.



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