Make it signings six and seven for Willie Kirk and Everton. Yesterday it was announced that Italian midfielder Aurora Galli signed a two-year deal with Everton. The contract has an option to extend for an additional year to 2024.
The 24-year-old becomes the first Italian player to compete in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League. After spending the past four seasons with Italian giants Juventus, Galli arrives in Merseyside having won four Serie A titles, three Supercoppa Italiana titles and a Coppa Italia.
In her introductory interview, Galli was beaming over her move to Everton.
“I’m really happy to be here,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the start of the season and getting to know the girls, the staff and this Club. This is an important move for me. It’s the first time I have moved away from my country. I want to learn from the league, my teammates and the manager to become a better player.”
After a frenetic transfer period, Kirk revealed that Galli was a player he was always interested in bringing to the club. Kirk also praised the Italian’s well-rounded game and was effusive in praising her strengths.
“It’s been a deal that we’ve been working on since early in the year,” Kirk said. “It’s taken a while to come to fruition, but we finally got there. She reads the game very well and makes a lot of interceptions. She spoils opposition’s game plan, but she’s also very good on the ball. Composed technically, she has a good range of passing.”
With Damaris Egurrola, who looked to be the team’s central defensive midfielder of the future, leaving for Olympique Lyonnais last winter, and Jill Scott’s loan spell ending, Everton needed a player who could come in a secure the six-position — enter Galli, who has ample experience linking play from the back through midfield.
Last season, Galli competed in 13 league matches and two Champions League fixtures, accruing over 1100 minutes while scoring one goal and adding one assist. She also has been capped 38 times for Italy, finding the back of the net four times.
| Watch our exclusive first interview with new signing, Aurora Galli as she discusses what it means to sign for the Club.— Everton Women (@EvertonWomen) July 28, 2021
Where one player joins the club, another moves on; Abbey-Leigh Stringer completed a move to West Ham United this past week after three seasons as a Toffee. The 26-year-old signed with Everton in 2018 from Birmingham City and appeared in 38 matches over her time on Merseyside. Last season, Stringer was among the three-player rotation at CDM, playing musical chairs with either Scott or Maéva Clemaron, who signed with Tottenham earlier this month.
The England international played in 14 league outings in 2020/21, putting up one assist and earning three yellow cards. Stringer finished the campaign averaging 3.11 tackles and 1.55 aerials won per 90. Despite being a regular contributor last season, the 26-year-old’s place in the team came under question due to the imminent arrival of Galli. Deemed surplus to requirements at Walton Hall, Stringer inked a contract with the Hammers.
Days before Stringer parted ways, the club brought in Irish goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan on a one-year deal to provide competition for last year’s incumbent, Sandy MacIver. After her contract expired this summer, Brosnan moves to Merseyside following two successful years at West Ham.
During her time in London, Brosnan made 16 league appearances for the Hammers. She kept three clean sheets in six contests last season.
“I’m really excited to be here and take this next step in my career,” Brosnan said. “The WSL is one of the top leagues in the world and I have really enjoyed being here for the past two years and I wanted to continue to play in this league. Everton is a great club with a lot of ambition to reach the top of the league so I’m looking forward to working with the team.”
For Kirk, bringing in a second goalie to vie for starting minutes will only improve the squad's competitiveness and quality.
“The idea behind signing Courtney is to have someone who is good enough to challenge Sandy but also someone who is young enough to continue to develop and I think we have managed to get both in Courtney,” Kirk said. “Hopefully she can become Ireland’s number one as well as pushing to be Everton’s number one.”
So excited about this!!!! https://t.co/enhwljPHnK— Courtney Brosnan (@court_brosnan18) July 26, 2021
The final bit of news coming out of Finch Farm is the contract extension of Megan Finnigan, one of the club’s longest-serving players. Finnigan, who came through Everton’s youth academy, signed a one-year Everton contract that runs through June 2022. The deal also comes with an option for an additional year.
After having featured in every match across all competitions last season, Finnigan was a rock on defense for Kirk and showed astute defensive capabilities and a propensity for picking out forwards with long passes.
The move will keep Finnigan with the only club she has been a part of.
“This will be my 15th year with the club; it’s all I have ever known. Everton is home for me,” she said. “I have got a love for the Club so I couldn’t think of anything better than to extend my time with Everton. I have developed a lot over the past couple of seasons, particularly since Willie [Kirk] has come in.
“I spoke about it last season – and to Megan in particular – that last campaign was her best season in an Everton jersey,” Kirk said. “She deserves this contract extension.”
Locking up Finnigan will enhance a unit that has been bolstered by the arrivals of Swedish defender Nathalie Björn and German fullback Leonie Maier.