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Rumor Roundup: Harrop, Morgan, Iwabuchi could leave Tottenham Hotspur Women

Season’s over, let’s get weird

Tottenham Hotspur Women Training Session Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

BBCSport Journalist Emma Sanders has reported that Tottenham Hotspur Women defenders Esther Morgan and Kerys Harrop are likely to leave the club over the summer, while loanee midfielder Mana Iwabuchi is considering her options.

Kerys has been a real asset in terms of ability on the pitch and leadership since she joined in 2020 from Birmingham City, but much to our disappointment, her performances started to fall off after her return from injury in January 2023. Esther is a young Spurs fan who showed promise during several first team appearances in 2021. She has since struggled through several loan spells, including one where she tore her quad. I’ll be sad to see her go, but it seems like it might be time for a change.

Mana Iwabuchi is technically on loan from Arsenal (yes, we know, this is actually quite common in the WSL though). In January when she signed, we all hoped she’d stay on. But she hasn’t played as much as we’ve liked, and her spells on the field have only occasionally stood out. If she stays, she’ll likely be competing for minutes with Kit Graham, Eveliina Summanen, Drew Spence, and Ramona Petzelberger. If playing time is what she’s after, it may make sense to let her pursue opportunities elsewhere. Someone other than Vicky Jepson might prefer Iwabuchi on the wing ahead of Rosella Ayane, or wish to play her in a strike duo with Beth England (a role she sometimes plays for Japan). It’s hard to comment on any of this without knowing who will be managing Spurs Women next season.

Tottenham Hotspur v Reading - Barclays Women’s Super League - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Can I let you in on a little secret? I think we should sign Faye Bryson
Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images

Notably, we haven’t heard about seven other players who are out of contract yet–Tinja-Riika Korpela, Captain Shelina Zadorsky, Cho So-hyun, Asmita Ale, Chioma Ubogagu, Kyah Simon, and Rosella Ayane. We also haven’t heard whether we’ll trigger the option to sign Kit Graham, Eveliina Summanen, or Gracie Pearse for an additional year. That doesn’t necessarily mean all ten of these players all staying. All but the top few WSL teams typically have very high turnover at the end of the season, sometimes as many as eight or nine players departing.

Replacing nearly an entire starting XI at once is a massive challenge, and inherently puts lower- and mid-table WSL teams at a disadvantage compared to sides that only have to sign two or three. There’s a long way to go before Spurs reach that level. In my opinion, Spurs need to sign fullbacks on each side, a centerback, a true DM, and potentially a left winger or two even if everyone else stays. If not, you can kick that number up. In the meantime, stay tuned here for more news.