Australia striker Sam Kerr has joined Women’s Super League leaders Chelsea.
The former Chicago Red Stars and Perth Glory star, 26, scored five goals at the World Cup this summer, leading Australia to the last 16.
Kerr has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal and will available for the second half of the WSL season from January.
“The fact she chose Chelsea when she could have gone to any club in the world is a testament to the players and the staff here,” said boss Emma Hayes.
She is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in the world and is the all-time leading scorer in the Australian and American leagues.
Chelsea fought off interest from a number of top European clubs including six-time Champions League winners Lyon.
She was also a target for Paris St-Germain, who reached Champions League finals in 2015 and 2017.
“Sam has proved time and time again in the NWSL that she is a prolific goalscorer,” Hayes continued. “She’s won the golden boot many times and she’s a player that can make things happen, but she’s also a fantastic team player.
“She saw this is the best place for her to grow and take the next step in her career. That’s a wonderful compliment to us all.”
Kerr is the ninth player from Australia to play in England, following in the footsteps of the likes of Emily Gielnik (Liverpool), Tanya Oxtoby (Doncaster Belles) and Caitlin Friend (Notts County).
On Monday, Australia’s Optus Sport signed a three-year deal with exclusive live rights for the WSL, and will broadcast around 50 matches a season in Kerr’s home country.
Why was Kerr in demand?
There are not many players who can outscore Kerr.
She dominated the Australian W-League, which she featured in from October-April with Perth Glory, and the National Women’s Soccer League in the US, where she played for Chicago Red Stars from April-September.
Her 70 goals in the W-League are an all-time record and she has finished as top scorer for two successive seasons.
Kerr also tops the all-time charts in the NWSL with 69 goals and picked up the Golden Boot for three years in a row – her latest tally of 18 being the highest in a single campaign.
|Sam Kerr’s stats for Chicago Red Stars|
She scored 44% of Chicago Red Stars’ total number of goals this season and finished fifth in the league with five assists – after getting 17 goals in 13 appearances for Perth Glory last season.
On the international stage she is just as good.
With 38 goals in 83 appearances, Kerr sits fourth in the all-time standings. The only player still active with more goals is Australia co-captain Lisa de Vanna (47) who plays for Italian side Fiorentina.
Why has she chosen Chelsea?
While Kerr has proven herself in the NWSL and the W-League, she is yet to test herself among Europe’s elite and that might have been a factor in her exclusion from recent player awards.
Many of the best players in the world, including Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg and Uefa Player of the Year Lucy Bronze, are competing in the Champions League with their clubs.
Chelsea reached the semi-finals of the competition last year, but finished third in the WSL, meaning they missed out on qualification this year.
They are currently top of the league, a point above champions Arsenal after five games.
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