The injury to Beth England and her subsequent surgery, combined with the season long loan of Nikola Karczewska has put Tottenham Hotspur Women in something of a bind. Spurs went from kind of deep at striker to perilously thin, to the point where Ellie Brazil, who missed most of last season with an ACL injury, is the most experienced player at the tip of the spear.
Something had to be done, and Spurs have now done something. Mostly, anyway. Kind of? Today, Spurs Women announced on their website that they have signed China international attacker Zhang Linyan on a season long loan from Super League club Wuhan Jianghan University.
We are delighted to announce the signing of 22-year-old forward Zhang Linyan on a season-long loan— Tottenham Hotspur Women (@SpursWomen) September 14, 2023
Zhang is a full China international and started all three of China’s games at this summer’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia before they bowed out in the group stage. For her country, Zhang played mostly as a attacking left winger, but she regularly started at the No. 9 position in a front three while on loan at Grasshopper Club Zurich last season. (I honestly didn’t think I’d be using the word “Grasshopper” so often in football articles this month, but here we are.)
There’s a catch, though. Zhang won’t join Spurs until after the conclusion of the Asian Games, which is being held in Hangzhou until October 8. That means she could potentially miss at least Tottenham’s first two matches at Chelsea on Oct. 1 and home to Bristol City on October 8, possibly more if she needs time to get acclimated and learn the system.
Zhang not an out-and-out striker, but she’s a talented offensive player and Spurs could probably use any potential source of goals they can get at this point with England out indefinitely. It’s going to be an interesting season — Spurs should be playing a very different style of football under Robert Vilahamn, but a lot of the clubs around them have made significant moves in the transfer window to improve and Spurs’ summer seems, at first blush, to be pretty underwhelming. Hopefully Zhang will help with that. Eventually.