Chelsea captured their first signing of the summer in the form of 21-year-old Niamh Charles.
Charles is a product of the Liverpool Academy. She spent her entire career at the club prior to her move to London.
She was one of few bright talents in a Liverpool side that struggled against all competitors last season. One that saw the Reds relegated to the Championship for the first time since promotion/relegation was introduced.Embed from Getty Images
Charles has 24 caps for England’s various youth teams, with the winger scoring 11 goals for her country.
She was also the only Liverpool player other than Rachel Furness to out-perform her xG this past season.
She leaves Liverpool with 59 WSL appearances under her belt, having made her senior debut at 16.
Charles’ deal with the Blues will run until the summer of 2023, which is a massive show of faith from Emma Hayes.
Charles will benefit from playing with superstars Beth England and Sam Kerr. Their talent and experience will propel her development.
The instant competition from fellow youngsters will also help Niamh Charles become a better player.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be joining Chelsea FC Women,” Charles told chelseafc.com. “This is a really proud day for not only myself, but also my family.
“Emma Hayes is one of the most highly regarded managers in our game. She was a huge part of my decision to come to the club.
“I know she will help me fulfil my potential and I will be working hard to make sure I give myself every opportunity to learn, develop and improve as a player. I can’t wait to get started.”
The announcement of Charles’ new club comes just four days after she posted a heart-felt goodbye to Liverpool on Twitter.
There’s no underestimating how massive an opportunity this is for Charles. Moving from the worst team in the league to the current Champions will be a massive shock.
The elite training levels and facilities will provide her with a platform that she would not have had before.
The competition will be stiff. As long as she gets her head down and puts in the work, she should be able to be challenging the likes of Jamie Lee Napier for a position on the bench this coming season.
Not walking into the starting 11 will be the biggest thing for Charles’ development. Needing to earn her spot will be a different task. Niamh Charles waltzed into the Liverpool lineup every week thanks to how thin the squad was.
Charles will relish all these new challenges including potential Champions League experience and a more realistic chance at silverware.
As a life-long Liverpool fan, it must have been difficult for Charles to leave the Reds but this opportunity was too good to pass up.
The transfer window in England is now open, so expect more deals to be announced in the coming weeks.