In the summer transfer window’s first bit of action, Everton have inked a big name to strengthen their midfield depth. The Blues have brought in French midfielder Kenza Dali — whose contract expired with West Ham United in June — on a two-year deal through 2023.
In 32 league appearances for the Hammers over the course of two seasons, the 29-year-old logged five goals and seven assists to complement 7.30 progressive passes per 90. For Les Bleus, the dynamic midfielder has been capped 33 times and has scored five goals.
After having come through the youth ranks at Olympique Lyonnais, Dali has played for five different clubs in France and is familiar with the abilities of Valérie Gauvin — her international teammate — and Everton Player of the Year, Izzy Christiansen, who also spent time at Lyon.
Talking with everton.tv about her move to Merseyside, Dali expressed her excitement over joining a team with top-three ambitions.
“I’m really happy to join this club,” she said. “It’s a big decision for me, and I’m really happy and looking forward to start. The way the team plays is really good. I’m a player who loves to have the ball, to play in possession and Everton play like this. I really imagine myself in a team like this, so I’m really happy to join it.”
Welcome to Everton, Kenza Dali! ✍️ pic.twitter.com/l8Yxw3wRCp— Everton Women (@EvertonWomen) July 1, 2021
To build a balanced squad, Kirk — who values positional versatility — has gone out and acquired the services of a player who can operate across the midfield. Dali is capable of taking defenders on, finding open teammates and threading the ball into tight spaces.
“She can play in an eight or as a 10 role,” Kirk said, “but also slightly wider if we want to have her coming inside from the sides and picking up pockets of space. She is hard-working, a winner, and is a big threat in the final third. Without a doubt, she will deliver goal contributions, be that from scoring herself or through assisting others.”
The former Hammer will be an integral figure for the Toffees this upcoming season, and her signing further emphasizes the club’s aspirations at breaking into the hierarchy of the WSL.