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Everton Ladies make two moves to close out January transfer window

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The club is looking to keep itself out of a relegation fight

Chelsea Women v Everton Ladies - FA WSL Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images

Apparently the FA WSL transfer window closes today. Maybe tomorrow. Who knows really?

The FA doesn’t make it easy to track the top women’s league in England, and frankly I had no idea the winter window closed sooner for the women than the men until this happened.

Everton Ladies “beat the transfer deadline to land the 25-year-old Scottish full-back from Hibernian,” according to the club’s official release. I guess that means the deadline is soon? Cool.

Brownlie’s move to Everton doesn’t entirely come out of the blue (no pun intended), though. The defender played under current EFC Ladies coach Willie Kirk previously at Hibernian, before the manager moved to Bristol City, Manchester United, and finally Everton. Brownie told EvertonFC.com:

I have worked with Willie and Chris before and that was a big thing in making my decision. They were my first management team as such when I moved into women’s football north of the border. Having worked with them before, it makes the move that bit easier coming down here.

Despite the club’s serious struggles, Brownlie had nothing but good things to say about her new home.

Everyone knows Everton because it is a massive club. I am delighted to get in and get the move over the line. I am really looking forward to getting started at Everton.

The official release suggests that Brownlie could be in contention for an appearance as soon as the club’s FA Cup match against Chelsea on February 3. But, that seems optimistic at best, given that the Scottish Women’s Premier League 2018 season concluded in November and has yet to start back up for the 2019 campaign — meaning Brownie has been out of action for two months.

There’s no doubt that Everton could use the defensive reinforcements immediately though, as the club has conceded 23 goals in 12 matches, the third-worst defensive record in the WSL.

However, the club’s attack is even worse — and it sure doesn’t look like it’ll be getting better any time soon given the other transfer news of the day.

In what can only be described as a peculiar turn of events, striker Claudia Walker will be heading out on loan to Birmingham City for the rest of the WSL season.

The move is a head-scratcher for two reasons.

  1. EFC Ladies already can’t score goals — they got only 13 goals in all competitions this season. Claudia Walker had three of those goals, one in the league and two in the WSL Cup (which Everton has been eliminated from).
  2. Birmingham City sits in fourth in the WSL — 19 points and six places better than Everton. It’s unusual to see a player get loaned to a team higher in the table, much less one in another stratosphere entirely.

Essentially, Everton Ladies closed out the transfer window by adding a defender who had an existing relationship with the club’s manager, despite the fact that she hasn’t played well enough to warrant attention from a relatively mediocre Scottish women’s national team — and then loaned out its joint-top scorer to a superior club.

With eight league matches to go and only three points separating Everton LFC from safety and the relegation zone, there is reason to be concerned about the future of the club. These moves don’t exactly indicate that such concern is unwarranted.