Keira Walsh joins Barcelona from WSL in record-breaking transfer

Keira Walsh is headed to Barcelona. (Naomi Baker/The FA via Getty Images)

FC Barcelona agreed to a record-breaking transfer deal Wednesday that will bring Manchester City midfielder Keira Walsh to the club.

The transfer fee totals around £400,000, BBC Sport’s Emma Sanders reported. The previous record for women’s soccer was set in September 2020, when Chelsea paid than £250,000 to acquire Pernille Harder from VfL Wolfsburg.

While Manchester City had wanted to hold onto Walsh, the England midfielder wanted to move on after eight years with the club, Sanders reported. Walsh was entering the final year of her contract with Manchester City, but she has signed a three-year deal with Barcelona.

Walsh is fresh off a European Championship win with England. She was named Player of the Match following England’s 2-1 win over Germany in the final.

Barcelona is without 2021 Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas, who tore her ACL in July ahead of the Euros, leaving a hole in the club’s midfield.

The reigning champions of the Spanish Primera División pursued Walsh to bolster their midfield line. While City turned down two previous bids from Barcelona, the club ramped up its efforts in the final days before its league transfer deadline, The Guardian and ESPN reported.

It’s been a difficult summer for City, who also lost midfielder and all-time leading scorer Georgia Stanway to Bayern Munich and Caroline Weir to Real Madrid. Both Ellen White and Jill Scott announced their retirements from soccer last month.

The club will now look for a replacement for Walsh ahead of Thursday’s WSL transfer deadline.