Everton last week released the following players after their contracts expired: defender Georgia Brougham, midfielder Maéva Clemaron, midfielder Hannah Coan, goalkeeper Tinja-Riikka Korpela and winger Molly Pike.
While some of the moves were expected, others seemed a bit questionable considering the current roster. Granted, Manager Willie Kirk has only just begun his work in the summer transfer market, so he ostensibly will bring in replacements for those who were let go this past week.
Brougham signed for the Toffees from Manchester City in 2016 but has spent the past two years on loan at Birmingham City. The 25-year-old was a mainstay during her first two seasons on Merseyside, making 29 appearances and 27 starts. However, in Kirk’s first full season in charge (2019-20), Brougham featured just twice for the club. Not only were minutes hard to come by, but the current center-back depth of the squad also made it difficult to break into the starting XI.
Clemaron was the most consistent figure of the five released, appearing in 22 matches — 17 of which were starts — over two seasons with the Blues. The 28-year-old has been capped four times by the France national team and traveled with Les Bleus to the 2019 World Cup. Her departure depletes Everton’s central midfield depth, but the signing of Kenza Dali and the rumored transfer for Italian midfielder Aurora Galli certainly would amplify the center of the pitch. Clemaron will stay in the WSL, though, signing a one-year deal with Tottenham.
Coan came through Everton’s youth ranks before making her senior appearance in December of 2019. The midfielder spent last season on loan at Sheffield United and Blackburn Rover and wasn’t in Kirk’s long-term plans.
Arguably the most surprising move was the decision not to re-sign Korpela, both from a talent and depth perspective. Korpela played in nine matches last season and was a capable deputy to Sandy MacIver. The Finnish shot-stopper featured 16 times for the Blues in two seasons.
The decision to let her walk suggests that Kirk and his staff are content to have Anna Pedersen — who is still a teenager — as the team’s backup between the sticks. Either the team believes in Pedersen’s development, or Kirk will sign a backup keeper in the transfer market. Korpela joined Clemaron at Spurs after penning a one-year deal to play in North London.
Pike, who was Everton’s 2019/20 Young Player of the Season, appeared in six fixtures last year before being loaned out to Bristol City for the second half of the campaign. She might have been a candidate to replace Ingrid Moe Wold at right back after the Norwegian retired, but the Toffees have been linked with German right back Leonie Maier, who Arsenal released in June. Still just 20, Pike should find a home before the start of next season.