Fran Kirby: Chelsea legacy, trophies won, next club rumours 

Fran Kirby celebrates during the Continental Tyres Cup Semi Final
Fran Kirby celebrates during the Continental Tyres Cup Semi Final match between West Ham United and Chelsea on February 09, 2023 (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

It’s been a season of farewells, but one departure stands out. Fran Kirby has called time on her nine years at Chelsea, carving a memorable exit by scoring against Manchester United at Old Trafford on the final day of the season.

As she focuses on a new chapter in her career, we have taken a look back at her legacy with Chelsea and what could be next.

Chelsea’s all-time top goalscorer

The 30-year-old England international joined the Blues in 2015 and has departed as their all-time leading scorer. She netted 116 goals and secured 15 trophies in her nine iconic years with the club. Kirby’s time at Chelsea is unforgettable, marked by an immediate impact on the Women’s Super League. She not only became the leading goalscorer but also set a club record with 76 assists.

Kirby struck up a formidable partnership with teammate Sam Kerr. The duo were nicknamed ‘Kerr-by’, scoring 59 goals as Chelsea won the domestic treble in the 2020/21 season.

Fran Kirby pericarditis diagnosis

Kirby’s time at Chelsea wasn’t without challenges though, as she faced significant setbacks over the years due to injuries and illnesses. She missed most of the 2019/20 season after being diagnosed with pericarditis — inflammation of the lining around the heart. Kirby contemplated retiring from football early due to the condition but eventually she returned to the pitch stronger and more determined.

Speaking to ESPN in 2021, Kirby said: “I should have seen some of the warning signs: my energy levels, my overall demeanour, my attitude, everything was very sluggish, I was tired and angry. Just really angry.

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“I just started to get extreme chest pains. Like when you get indigestion, but like times 100 worse, it was just so intense. I just couldn’t work out what was going on, I was hanging onto the table like, I don’t know what’s going on.

“I knew I needed help, that something really bad was going on. Everything started spinning, I felt like I needed to lie down so tried to get to the sofa. And yeah, I actually collapsed. That was quite scary, because obviously it kind of came out of nowhere. I genuinely thought I was having a heart attack.”

How many trophies did Fran Kirby win with Chelsea?

Everyone knows that Fran Kirby possessed all the numbers necessary for a successful career at Chelsea. Despite this, she leaves West London without securing the elusive Champions League trophy with the club. Nonetheless, it’s fair to say Kirby conquered England with the Blues, winning all the available domestic trophies.

During her time at the club, the forward secured 15 pieces of silverware. Seven league titles, four FA Cups, two Continental Cups, one Community Shield, and one Spring Series have made Kirby one of the most decorated female players in England.

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In addition to these trophies, the 30-year-old won PFA Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year in the 2017/18 season, repeating both achievements in 2021/22. Furthermore, she achieved a top 10 finish in the 2021 Ballon d’Or rankings.

With all these achievements, her legendary status at Chelsea and in the Women’s Super League is undeniable. Farewell to the remarkable Fran Kirby.

Tributes to Fran Kirby

Fran Kirby posted an emotional farewell message to Chelsea fans as she announced she would be leaving the club. The replies of support and admiration flooded in from teammates, former professionals and other figures in women’s football.

“Perfect ending to an unbelievable career in blue,” ex-goalkeeper Carly Telford commented on Kirby’s Instagram post as she closed her Chelsea chapter.

“Always a legend to us,” Hannah Hampton replied.

Fran Kirby next club rumours

While there’s a long summer ahead of us and no rush for Kirby to make any future decisions, some transfer rumours have already emerged. According to 90min, the Chelsea legend is on the radar of a few Scandinavian and US clubs, including Hammarby, SK Brann and San Diego Wave.

English teams are also monitoring the situation, with Tottenham Hotspur ‘discussing Kirby’ but yet to make an official move. The player herself would reportedly like to stay in England and preferably London if given the option. With this in mind, the report claims that both Brighton and Hove Albion and the newly-promoted Crystal Palace are destinations ‘of appeal’.

Right now though, nothing is concrete but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on the growing links and who Kirby eventually opts to start her next chapter with.

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