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Ria Percival, Esther Morgan sign new contracts at Tottenham Hotspur Women

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Spurs Women continue to plan for the future.

Tottenham Hotspur Women v Sheffield United Women: Vitality Women’s FA Cup 5th Round Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur Women’s 2020-21 season is officially over after a 2-1 extra time win over Sheffield United in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup on Sunday that nobody could watch. (I’ll put highlights at the bottom of this article) However, while the dust has barely settled on Spurs’ sophomore campaign in the WSL, head coach Rehanne Skinner is already looking forward to how she will set up her team for next season.

The first order of business is to lock down the players who Skinner believes will be a core part of her team going forward. To that end, Tottenham announced new contracts in the past two days for New Zealand international defender Ria Percival, and young fullback Esther Morgan.

Percival’s new contract extension was announced on Wednesday and runs to the end of next season.

Fully professional contracts are relatively new for Tottenham, but one year extensions are not at all uncommon. This leads to a lot of churn within WSL clubs from year to year, but it does mean that the players who do receive contracts or extensions are considered important to the way the club wants to play. Percival has a major contributor for Spurs this season as both a fullback and a defensive midfielder, appearing in 17 of the club’s 23 matches. The 31 year old has played in four World Cups for New Zealand and is getting ready to feature for New Zealand in this summer’s Olympics. Her experience is invaluable for a Spurs side that is hoping to improve next season.

Esther Morgan seemingly came out of nowhere this season, making her club debut at age 17 and also her international debut with Wales. She has been rewarded with her first professional contract through 2022, with an option to extend a further season.

Morgan was dropped into a difficult situation at fullback during the extended absence of Ashleigh Neville but put in some surprisingly good performances. A product of the club’s academy development program, Morgan is looking like she could be a real talent for the future.

The contracts for Morgan and Percival are the latest in a string of contract extensions that includes Rosella Ayane, Angela Addison, Shelina Zadorsky, Jessica Naz, and Alanna Kennedy. There may be more to follow. However, there are still major questions heading into this offseason — Tottenham have expiring loan deals for defender Abbie McManus and midfielder Cho So-Hyun, and there are areas that require significant upgrades if Spurs want to be successful in the future. That starts with the forwards; only Kit Graham has had even moderate success scoring goals this season, and formerly reliable strikers like Rianna Dean have found it difficult since Spurs moved to the top flight.

This summer represents a huge opportunity for Spurs to make a statement by providing substantial investment in the club. Even £1m would finance an incredible overhaul of the club and could significantly close the gap between Spurs and the Big Four of the WSL. Manchester United have proven that investment and commitment to their women’s team can propel even a newly founded club to the top within a few years. After a disappointing league campaign that saw Spurs slip near the relegation zone this season, the club could finally stop talking about ambition and start realizing it.

Highlights: Tottenham 2-1 Sheffield United, Women’s FA Cup Fifth Round