Everton announced today the signing of Toni Duggan from Atletico Madrid. With her time in the Spanish capital coming to a close — Duggan’s contract expired at the end of this season — the 29-year-old put pen to paper in a deal that brings her back to Merseyside. Duggan, who was one of Willie Kirk’s main targets, signed a two-year deal with the Toffees that will keep her with the club through June of 2023.
In what promised to be an exciting summer transfer window for the fifth-place team in the WSL, Sporting director Sarvar Ismailov hasn’t wasted any time upgrading a team with Champions League aspirations. Duggan’s signing comes about a week after the Blues inked French midfielder Kenza Dali on a two-year deal.
Duggan played for Everton from 2007-13, was named the FA Women’s Young Player of the Year in 2009 and helped Everton win the FA Cup in 2010. Following a successful six-year spell in Liverpool, the English forward signed with Manchester City before moving to Spain, where she first played with Barcelona and, most recently, Atletico.
Heading into the summer, Kirk expressed a desire to bring in “winners” to improve the team’s chances at breaking into the top three. In her time away from Merseyside, Duggan won the WSL title, earned one FA Cup trophy and two League Cup titles with City. In Spain, the 29-year-old hoisted the Copa de la Reina and twice won the Copa Catalunya.
The signing will be a mutually beneficial one, as Everton adds a player familiar with the club who has had success on the biggest stages. Duggan gets the opportunity to work her way back to the national side — she hasn't consistently represented the Lionesses since the 2019 World Cup.
“My contract with Atletico is up in the summer,” she said. “After a difficult year with the coronavirus pandemic, I want to be back with family and also to get back in the England side. I think if I’m in the WSL, back in England and in front of the new manager’s eyes, that is my motivation: to get back in the England team, come back in England and hopefully people can remember me.”
Duggan must have considered Jill Scott’s experience when making her decision to return to the WSL; Scott, who was hardly featuring for City this past season, signed for Everton on a loan deal and subsequently began earning caps from the national team.
The desire to propel the Toffees into the top three also resonated with the England international.
“It would be a dream come true if I can get Everton back in the Champions League,” she said. “That’s where this club belongs and I know we can achieve it. I’m here now, I’m back in blue and hopefully I can give back to the club what they gave me.”