With one win and only three points for the season the Foxes are in need of reinforcements to sustain their spot in the WSL. Leicester currently sit bottom of the table at 12th in the Women’s Super League. Leicester was knocked out of the FA Cup over the weekend by Reading in a penalty shootout, where the Foxes failed to convert three penalties. They were knocked out of the Continental League Cup by Manchester City with a very depleted squad (only three 3 subs available) earlier in January. Scoring goals has been a challenge, with long term injuries to Jess Sigworth, Lachante Paul, and Hannah Cain. Cain returned to the squad for the loss to Chelsea from an ACL injury. It will take time for her to get back to 90-minute match fitness. The other options up top are all teenagers and a big task to place on their shoulders, so getting a goal scorer into the squad was a priority.
Another area for reinforcement is in goal. Both Levell and Lambourne had injuries in the past year leaving them out of the squad at different times and both had shaky moments between the sticks. Both keepers have allowed in more goals than expected in the past two seasons with Lambourne allowing 6.3 in 2021/2022 and 2.4 in 2022/2023 more than expected, and with both huge Chelsea losses to her name. Levell allowed 4.7 more goals than expected in 2021/2022 and 5.3 in 2022/2023.
Injuries in other areas of the pitch has also led to holes in the squad. Defensive midfielder Josie Green was injured in November, still has not returned, and no return date has been mentioned by Kirk. Her back up Abby McManus was welcomed back into the fold with Bedford’s departure but has fractured her leg in the Conti Cup win over Sunderland and will be out for a few months.
Leicester women had a busy January transfer window. Below is a recap of the comings and goings for the women’s side.
From Bayern Munich on loan until end of the 2022/2023 season. The 23-year-old played last season at Bayern and the four prior seasons at fellow Bundesliga club Hoffenheim. Of her 13 starts last season she had 9 clean sheets. Her extra inches in height at 6’0” will be a benefit to the defense of the Foxes. She debuted for Leicester in their only league win against Brighton, with the first clean sheet in a league match for the Foxes in 2022/2023. Leitzig came up with one penalty save in the shootout with Reading over the weekend in the FA Cup loss.
She signed a contract and arrived in time to debut in the Reading match as a substitute. The 22-year-old center back played for University of Central Florida and University of Florida. This is the England native’s first professional contract. In her 16 matches played for UCF they had 8 clean sheets. Cool, calm, and collected Eaton-Collins was one of only two Foxes to make her penalty in the shootout over the weekend.
Left back Nevin is on loan until the end of the 2022/2023 season from Hammarby IF in the Swedish league. The second Aussie brought in this January, Nevin played with teammate Remy Siemsen at Sydney Wanderers. The two Aussie’s are vying for spots with the Matilda’s World Cup squad this summer. With 2 goals and 3 assists at Hammarby IF this season, she should help contribute going forward. Nevin made her debut as a substitute against Reading.
One Georgia in, one Georgia out. The 26 year old defender and club have terminated her contract by mutual consent. With only one league match this season down significantly from her 11 in the season prior, it doesn’t appear Bedford or Kirk had her in their plans.
The 31 year old fullback signed in September 2022 but saw limited playing time under Bedford and Kirk. She only saw 124 minutes over 3 league matches. With the new addition of Nevin, and Bott recovered from last seasons injury it was unlikely she would see much of the pitch going forward. Nevin’s contract was terminated by mutual consent.
Defensive midfielder Ruby Mace came in on loan from Manchester City for the remainder of the season. It’s unclear if this was always planned, but is more likely in reaction to Green’s extended recovery time and McManus’s new injury picked up earlier this year. At only 19 years she isn’t seeing much playing time in the league as Man City are competing for one of the three coveted European spots available in the WSL. Mace made her debut, starting against Reading.
The young English midfielder is on loan to Coventry United in the Championship for the remainder of this season. With only two matches in the league and a couple in the cup matches, this loan move should get her more regular playing time.
Another youngster out on loan to Coventry for the remainder of the season. She signed for Leicester in September 2022, from Sheffield United. A former Leicester academy player, she wasn’t getting many opportunities to play, and this move should continue her development.
You can read more about Siemsen here.
With the Australian league in its off season Siemsen is not match fit yet, and she did not debut in the loss to Reading.
In one of the surprising transfers of this window, forward Flint has gone out on loan to Celtic in the Scottish Premier League. With only one goal in 9 league matches this season, expecting her to pull the Foxes out of relegation seems overly optimistic. Her two goals last season in 21 league matches played indicates this season’s trend is a continuation of last year. Kirk has stated Siemsen was a target last summer, so Flint was likely always out of Kirk’s plans going forward.
This was a much busier January window than I dared to hope, but should leave fans more optimistic on the second half of the season. Next match is a league one against Manchester City on Saturday February 4th.