Pernille Harder has officially joined Emma Hayes’ Chelsea side on a three-year deal from VfL Wolfsburg ahead of the 2020/21 FA WSL kick-off this weekend.
The Danish striker played her final game for the club last weekend when VfL Wolfsburg lost 3-1 in the Champions League Final against Olympique Lyon. She is widely considered to be one of the best players in the women’s game.
Following her record move to the WSL, which is believed to be around £300,000, Harder said:
“I’m excited to play for such a big club, to play with so many amazing players and to also be playing in the Women’s Super League.”
Chelsea Manager Emma Hayes, meanwhile, added:
“Pernille is one of the best players in the world. Her record for Wolfsburg and Linkopings as well as internationally with Denmark shows how valuable she has been to her team.”
Who is Pernille Harder?
Harder began her career by playing in her native Denmark for first Team Viborg and then IK Skovbakken in the Elitedivisonen before moving to Swedish club Linkopings FC in 2012.
It was there that Harder began to make her name for herself, spending four years at the Swedish side, making 87 appearances. In the 2015 campaign the striker managed to score an impressive 17 goals in 22 appearances, which resulted in a number of personal accolades including Danish Footballer of the Year for 2015 and the most valuable player of the Damallsvenskan.
During her time with Linkopings FC, Harder also helped her team win the Damallsvenskan in 2016 and also back to back Svenska Cuper’s in 2014 and 2015.
Following her success in Sweden, Harder signed for Frauen Bundesliga Champions and two-times Champions League winners, VfL Wolfsburg on a two and half year contract in 2017.
On the international stage meanwhile, Harder has now made well over 100 appearances and inspired her Danish side to the final of the 2017 European Championships where she ended up scoring in a 4-2 defeat to Holland in the final. She has been named the country’s Player of the Year on six occasions, including each of the past five years.
Harder’s career, meanwhile, continued to go from strength to strength during her four-year stay in the Frauen Bundesliga as she won four league titles and German Cups. The Danish attacker twice ended up as the leading scorer of the division.
One title, however, that continues to allude her is the Women’s Champions League having twice finished a runner-up during her time with the German Club. Harder was named the UEFA Player of the Year for 2018 and during the disrupted 2019/20 campaign she was the Champions League’s top scorer.
What does this signing mean for Chelsea?
This latest acquisition for the Blues is just the latest in a number of leading players’ joining the side as another of the world’s leading players, Sam Kerr, joined Chelsea back in January after finishing the NWSL season with Chicago Red Stars.
Emma Hayes’ attacking options also include the likes of England international Beth England, who enjoyed another impressive campaign for Chelsea last season, managing 14 goals in just 15 games.
The West London club, meanwhile, have also made further impressive additions to their title winning squad, bringing in the likes of former Bayern Munich captain Melanie Leupolz and Canadian international Jessie Fleming from UCLA Bruins.
There is certainly no doubt, however, that following this latest high profile signing that Emma Hayes’ team will be much fancied to lift the WSL crown once again.
When does the season start?
Harder’s arrival comes just in time for the WSL kick-off this weekend, where the Blues begin their title defence with a trip to Casey Stoney’s Manchester United on Sunday.