Chelsea star Harder believes clubs splashing transfer cash on female players is good for women’s game growth
PERNILLE HARDER reckons clubs splashing the cash on top talent in women’s football is good for the growth of the sport.
And the midfield star is backing Lauren James and the Blues’ summer signings to make their mark with the team chasing WSL and Champions League titles.
It is just over two years since Harder, 29, made headlines following her world record-breaking transfer to the WSL champs from Wolfsburg for a reported fee of around £300,000.
The Denmark captain, whose team face West Ham on Sunday in a season-opening duel at Stamford Bridge, has enjoyed a storming run of trophy wins with the Blues.
Triumphs include two successive league titles and two FA Cups with the player bagging 15 goals in 38 top-tier appearances.
This summer could see the transfer record smashed amid reports in Spain of Barcelona looking to sign Manchester City star Keira Walsh.
And Chelsea have been heavily linked with a move for Paris Saint-Germain star Grace Geyoro with the Blues claimed to have had a record-breaking bid of more than £425,000 rejected.
Harder told reporters: “I think it’s good for women’s football to get the money rolling.
“You could say it like that, but it shows that it keeps developing.
“It’s a good development for women’s football, that players don’t have to play their contracts out, but they can actually get sold and clubs can get something out of the players.
“I’m happy that it keeps getting higher. I wanted to start something new in women’s football.”
This summer saw Chelsea sign centre-back Kadeisha Buchanan, 26, from eight-time Women’s Champions League winners Lyon.
The Canada star’s move was preceded by Eve Perisset, 26, becoming the first Blues signing under the club’s new owner US billionaire Todd Boehly.
Harder added: “All the new signings we got (for) this season and this year have been really good.
“I feel the improvement in training already and I’m really excited for the season to start and see how we’ll be.
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“Kadeisha has a lot of experience in the Champions League and being in a top team through almost all (of) her playing career.
“I played against her a lot when she played for Lyon. She has a lot of quality, is really calm with the ball and also really good in defence.”
Chelsea’s pre-season saw them take on Lyon and US side Portland Thorns in a friendly cup competition
The contest resulted in a loss on pens for the Blues to the French giants followed by a win against NWSL club Portland.
Among the players who shone for Emma Hayes’ side is forward Lauren James with the England starlet netting against Lyon in August along with Sam Kerr.
Since then James has gone on to earn her first senior international cap coming on as a sub for the Lionesses during their 2-0 World Cup qualifying defeat of Austria.
And Harder is hopeful the forward will impress for Chelsea this term.
The WSL ace said: “She had a great preseason. She’s a really good player, still young, but I think with time she will be a huge player for England.
“I hope that she can be even more involved this season because she’s fit now, she doesn’t have any injuries.”
This season, which will be Emma Hayes’ tenth year in charge, will see Chelsea chase a trophy quadruple with the team on the hunt for a first Champions League title.
The term also coincides with the start of a government-backed review of women’s football in England to be led by former Blues forward Karen Carney.
The sport’s financial health, growth and commercialisation are among the issues to be explored.
And Harder is open to the idea of a review of the progress of women’s football in Denmark.
The Blues star added: “I would love that in Denmark because I think we can improve some things there.
“When I see everything happening here in England and also other countries, I think it’s important for us in Denmark to keep developing and not feeling okay with how it is because then we will slip behind.”
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