Tottenham Hotspur Women have talked a lot about their ambition to compete at the very top of the Women’s Super League, but thus far their performances have not matched that ambition very closely. Today could be the start of a real push.
Spurs Women announced on social media and their website that eleven players have been released at the conclusion of their contracts, and will be seeking new opportunities in women’s football.
We can confirm the departures of Rianna Dean, Alanna Kennedy, Gemma Davison, Anna Filbey, Hannah Godfrey, Lucia Leon, Aurora Mikalsen, Chloe Peplow, Lucy Quinn, Siri Worm and Elisha Sulola following the conclusion of their contracts.#THFC ⚪️ #COYS— Tottenham Hotspur Women (@SpursWomen) May 25, 2021
That seems like a lot, and it is! However, it’s important to note that English WoSo works differently to the men’s side in that a sizable majority of players both at the professional and semi-pro levels are signed on year-to-year contracts. That means that there’s almost always a significant roster churn every offseason as teams take advantage of a pretty big free agent pool and reshuffle their lineups.
Even so, there are some familiar names on that list. Rianna Dean was an absolute star at the FAWC level for Spurs and was instrumental to getting the club promoted two seasons ago, but she has found it extremely difficult at the top level. Chloe Peplow, Lucy Quinn and Siri Worm have been either starters or major parts of the rotation during Spurs’ first two WSL campaigns, but have found their playing time reduced under Rehanne Skinner. Elisha Sulola is an academy graduate and promising youngster who spent the second half of the season on loan at Charlton Athletic.
Out of everyone on that list, the most surprising is Alanna Kennedy, who started her tenure at Spurs on loan from Orlando Pride along with Shelina Zadorsky and Alex Morgan, and who converted her contract into a permanent deal earlier in the season. Kennedy was a regular starter at defensive midfielder and scored two goals for Spurs late in the season, but now finds herself without a club. I’m a bit shocked — I actually thought she had her contract extended earlier, but that was clearly incorrect.
Spurs will retool around a core of players that includes Zadorsky, Rosella Ayane, Ria Percival, Jessica Naz, Esther Morgan, and Angela Addison. Interestingly, South Korean international Cho So-hyun, on loan from West Ham, was featured in the new kit promotional materials yesterday. We haven’t heard about players like Kit Graham, Josie Green, Ashleigh Neville, and others yet.
Eleven players gone is a lot of players, but it provides a big opportunity. Spurs proved that they need significant upgrades at a number of positions, especially at striker and central midfield. I’ve written a number of times about Spurs needing to financially back their women’s team in order to match the ambition they want to have on the pitch and this is a chance for them to do that. A token financial investment and Spurs can replace the outgoing players with some really, REALLY solid talent. They just need the will and the money to do it.