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What are the most expensive women's transfers of all time?

most expensive women's transfer, Pernille Harder
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When Chelsea signed Pernille Harder in the summer of 2020, she became the most expensive women's transfer of all time.

Most women's football players are signed for free, with global spending on transfer fees only amounting to £0.88m in 2020, according to FIFA. Five transfers alone made up 75% of that total.  

Chelsea made history when they paid a fee reported to be in excess of £250,000 to Wolfsburg in order to make Pernille Harder the most expensive women's transfer of all time. Harder has long been regarded as one of the best footballers in Europe, having won the UEFA Women's Player of the Year award twice. 

However, the second most expensive women's transfer took place almost 20 years prior to this when Milene Domingues signed for Atletico Madrid for £200,000. Domingues was at the time married to Brazilian star Ronaldo, and followed her husband in moving from Italy to Madrid. Her signing remains the Spanish women's transfer record. 

The same summer that Chelsea signed Harder, Everton also turned heads when they paid around €100,000 to sign French international Valerie Gauvin from Montpelier. The striker had scored 14 goals in 16 appearances for the French club as well as featuring at the Women's World Cup. She went on to score for Everton in the FA Cup final, despite her side eventually losing to Manchester City.

Lyon also got the chequebook out as their need to replace Lucy Bronze led to them spending an undisclosed fee to bring Australian right back Ellie Carpenter from Portland Thorns to the French champions. Although the fee has not been revealed, FIFA reported that it was more than what Everton had paid for Gauvin.

Meanwhile Chelsea have continued to splash the cash this summer by signing Lauren James from Manchester United in a deal expected to be worth up to £200,000, including bonuses. The 19-year-old, whose brother Reece is also at Chelsea, is highly regarded as one of the brightest young British talents. The signing is the most expensive women's transfer between two WSL clubs.