Saturday, April 13, 2024

Women’s football closing in on first million-pound player – Marc Skinner

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Mar 2024

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Women’s football will soon have its first million-pound player as transfer fees continue to sky-rocket, according to Manchester United head coach Marc Skinner.

Zambia international Barbra Banda became the second women’s player to breach the £500,000 mark this week when she completed a £582,000 move from Shanghai to Skinner’s former club Orlando Pride.

The deal comes just three weeks after another US club, Bay FC, paid a world record £685,000 to land Banda’s compatriot Racheal Kundananji from Real Madrid, which swiftly eclipsed Chelsea’s signing of Mayra Ramirez from Levante in January for a reported fee in excess of £400,000 with add-ons.

“We’re edging up, and as gates continue to grow and money comes into the (women’s) game, I don’t think we’re far away from it,” said Skinner.

“When I was at Birmingham we had a third of that (Banda’s fee) as our whole budget, and I was around that team when we were paying the first fees in women’s football.

“It was almost unheard of at the time but who is going to predict where it goes in the future?”

United smashed their own transfer record in August when they bought Brazilian international Geyse for a reported fee in excess of £250,000, and conceivably now carry much more clout under billionaire part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

However Skinner stressed that for the health of the women’s game it is important to keep transfer fees related to expected value, rather than showcase deals designed to make headlines.

“I think it’s fantastic for the continued growth of women’s football, but it also has to fall in line with growth margins and profit,” added Skinner.

“We can’t just do it as a show-and-tell, but I have no problem if the club is saying she’s worth it. I think that will be a tell-tale sign of how we (women’s football) continue to grow.”

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