Where in the world is Carmen, San Diego? Wait, that’s a woman, I always assumed… never mind, glad we’ve found her and that gives us plenty of time to find *checks notes* Sam Kerr’s next club.
That’s right, as long assumed, the NWSL Championship final was Kerr’s last appearance in NWSL – for now at least. Europe has come calling and the NWSL MVP has answered the phone with a resounding, “G’day” (sorry). But where is Kerr likely to end up? Well, let’s see….
That’s right, WSL is on the rise and England seems one of the most viable options for Kerr with the so-called “Big Four” the most likely.
Arsenal – English champions, Arsenal arguably have the budget to lure the Australian in and who better to suffer through the dreary winter months with Joe Montemurro than another of his countrymen. However, the manager generally prefers to have a smaller squad with a focus on adaptable players, and although one bad injury could disrupt the goal-hungry front line, it seems highly unlikely that he’d go out of his way to break up the attack that has built over time.
Chelsea – Away from the UEFA Women’s Champions League this season for the first time since 2015-16, the Blues finished last season without silverware. Currently at the summit of the league table, there is still a question mark that hangs around the former champions regarding their goal-scoring ability. With all the pieces seemingly in place, the puzzle has refused to clarify for Emma Hayes, a coach fond of signing already established players and Kerr would certainly fit right into the vicious attack that’s been built at Kingsmeadow.
Chelsea, the team most heavily linked with Kerr, is not hard to understand as an option - although the club has long insisted nothing is done.
Manchester City – Having just been knocked out of the Champions League, things aren’t going too swimmingly for the Citizens but attack is the area Nick Cushing simply does not need to strengthen. With a manager whose history is built on developing young British players (with a few notable exceptions), it seems unlikely Kerr is heading to the CFA.
Manchester United – Despite the clout of the newly formed team, not only has Casey Stoney alluded to a meticulously planned budget that wouldn’t allow for a blockbuster signing but Scottish Sam Kerr is arguably a better fit for the mould of the team she’s building.
Whilst there is a stark logic to Kerr moving to Division 1 Feminine, her own comments in the past about the lack of competitive nature of the league remains the biggest argument for why she isn’t likely to be France-bound.
Olympique Lyonnais – The all-conquering Fenottes… could it be? Could Kerr be heading to the team that has become famous for sweeping all others aside? If we’re talking about compensation, Lyon are never shy to put their money where their mouth is but for the 26-year-old it seems unlikely that there would be enough of a challenge. There is also the further question as to how much the Australian would feature, with those already established at the club not likely to step aside and relinquish their starting spots.
Paris Saint-Germain – The perpetual runner-up in France, there would be a degree of challenge for Kerr at PSG, but it would be marginal, measured in two or four games a season. The squad is already with underused depth in attack, and PSG another team that looks more to youth than established experience (but again with notable exceptions).
Montpellier/Bordeaux/et all else – Budget? Probably not. Challenge? For sure, but there would be little reward for Kerr for the amount she’d have to endure.
A popular enough destination for players from all around the world, the Frauen Bundesliga still provides plenty of drama – even though VfL Wolfsburg have a stranglehold on the league this season – and is categorically the type of competitive environment Kerr has suggested she wants. But it’s hard to imagine the diminutive attacker anywhere in Germany, from Bavaria to Lower Saxony. Her full-time options are limited before she’s even begun.
FC Bayern München – One of the most recognised football brands around the world, Bayern’s women’s team has been home to plenty of players who are known in the NWSL but the team has rather been left in the dust as of late. Not even in the top two after a pair of early season losses, the Bavarians look off colour and, despite the talent in the squad, it’s hard to see a player like Kerr jumping at the chance to sign.
VfL Wolfsburg – Regarded as the second-best team in Europe, the She-Wolves took their own hit over the summer, losing winger, Caroline Graham Hansen to Barcelona, yet the German champions have barely needed a second to recover. Having been more focused on signing players from within Germany, the team has enough options in the attacking thirds not to need Kerr.
The league few are talking about, Serie A has managed to attract plenty of players to the clubs who can throw around a little more money and offer full-time contracts but as we’ve seen with some, there is still a deep instability. Like many other leagues, you’d have to look at the top two to see Kerr’s possible destinations.
AC Milan – Needing a little time to adjust to life, Milan arguably under-performed last season but comfortable at the top of the table, it’s unlikely AC are looking for any earth-shattering signings. For now at least.
Juventus – The team who’ve been most happy to splash the cash since buying out a Serie A licence and pitching up in women’s football, Juventus could well use a player like Kerr given the average age of their attack. But with a high player turnover there is plenty of risk involved with a move to Turin, the league still finding its professional feet. Kerr to Juventus? Stranger things have happened but most need a blood oath.
Putting the announced indefinite Primera Iberdrola strike on the backburner for now, Spain is a viable option that many may have been overlooking. The *professional league another on the rise on the continent (as Barcelona’s presence at the Champions League final last season would suggest) and one that, despite some score lines, is another that would be classed as highly competitive. The biggest stumbling block for Kerr? As with many of Europe’s leagues: the culture shock.
Atlético Madrid – A team that doesn’t quite know if they’re coming or going, Atleti’s recent and unexpected management change is likely to have put the kibosh on any signings José Luis Sánchez had flagged with new boss, Pablo López still getting the feel for his team. Having specifically strengthened in attack over the summer with Charlyn Corral and Toni Duggan brought in to sit across the front with Ludmila and Olga García, it’s hard to see who López would sacrifice. Again, the identity of the team not one that suggests, Kerr would be the type of signing they’d be looking at in the first place.
Barcelona – Operating with a surprisingly small budget, the Catalans have a rich history of keeping their squad Spanish and only peppering in foreign internationals to add what Spanish players can not. And although Kerr could fulfil what Barcelona haven’t had in the past (and may very well lack in the future), as it stands, the table toppers have little use for the Matilda with the squad well balanced.
CD Tacón (Real Madrid) – The team that are and aren’t Real Madrid, Kerr would certainly be welcome at Tacón, the striker another star to add to the growing list at the club. One of the clubs that shouldn’t have any problems paying her wages, that can give her a starting spot and promise a challenge, Tacón tick more than a few boxes bar one: the Champions League. Only promoted to the topflight this season, Tacón aren’t in the UWCL this year, and given their standing in the table, they’re not likely to be next season either.
Although Kerr would undoubtedly add to Tacón and help them win games – something that has been a real struggle this season, the Madrid team with just four points from their first seven games – the chance of finishing top two seems a very long way away. Even if the team could continue to build and grow (and it will), Kerr wouldn’t be likely to feature in the Champions League until at least the 2021-22 season if she joins Tacón now.
With all signs pointing to Chelsea, we’re fully prepared to be monumentally wrong on this one...