From Reiten to Groenen: five new players who can light up the WSL | Louise Taylor

Jill Roord (joined Arsenal from Bayern Munich)

Only 22, she has already been capped 40 times by the Netherlands and brings further technical excellence to surely the WSL’s most creative, not to mention flexible, midfield. Roord, who came off the bench for the final 20 minutes of the Netherlands’ World Cup final defeat by the USA this summer, began her career with FC Twente before establishing herself as a star at Bayern Munich. Sufficiently versatile and tactically intelligent to be deployed in both offensive and defensive midfield roles, she should be very much at home with Joe Montemurro’s Dutch-style positional rotation. “I’ve been following the WSL for years,” she says. “And it’s always been my dream to play in England.” Her arrival in an Arsenal engine room already featuring, Kim Little, Jordan Nobbs and Daniëlle van de Donk, can only bolster the team’s title defence.

Guro Reiten (joined Chelsea from LSK Kvinner)

It cost Chelsea around £12,000 to take the left-footed forward or attacking midfielder dubbed “Golden Guro” from Norway’s LSK Kvinner. “Lefties” are invariably valuable, much coveted, commodities in football and Reiten proved her worth at this summer’s World Cup in France where she commanded banner headlines after shining in Norway’s 3-0 dismantling of Nigeria. The versatile 25-year-old has been capped 43 times by her country and can operate as either a No 10, a winger or a striker. Reiten says No 10 is her favourite role but she can score goals from virtually anywhere. Indeed last season’s player of the year in Norway’s Toppserien has been leading scorer in that league for the past three years. Emma Hayes may already be blessed with a formidably strong attacking department but Reiten’s ability to play between the lines promises to offer a new dimension to Chelsea’s game.

Jacynta Galabadaarachchi (joined West Ham from Perth Glory)

The 18-year-old Australia youth international forward is regarded as one of the finest emerging talents in the world game and has already trained with the Matildas’ senior squad. Her surname – which reflects her family’s Sri Lankan roots – promises to challenge both broadcasters and journalists typing match reports. Matt Beard is suitably delighted by the capture of a teenager developed by Melbourne City before joining Perth Glory last season. “I like developing young players and I’ve watched and worked with a lot of them over the years but Jacynta is one of the best I’ve ever seen,” says West Ham’s manager. “I’m very excited by her enormous potential.” Galabadaarachchi says moving to England has been her “dream” since she was eight years old.

West Ham’s Jacynta Galabadaarachchi in action during a pre-season friendly against Tottenham Hotspur which Spurs won 2-1 courtesy of two goals in the last 10 minutes.

West Ham’s Jacynta Galabadaarachchi in action during a pre-season friendly against Tottenham Hotspur which Spurs won 2-1 courtesy of two goals in the last 10 minutes. Photograph: Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Léa Le Garrec (joined Brighton from Guingamp)

Hope Powell’s Brighton struggled at times last season in the wake of their promotion to the WSL but are determined to avoid a relegation battle this season. Which is where Le Garrec comes in. The 26-year-old midfielder has been capped four times by France, previously played for Paris St-Germain and is enthused by both the prospect of being coached by the former England manager and Brighton’s impressive infrastructure and training facilities. “Léa’s got plenty of experience of playing at the highest level which is what we need,” says Powell. As a star of French youth teams, Le Garrec turned down the chance to turn professional at PSG in order to complete a degree in Real Estate and subsequently juggled a career in that sphere with playing. Now, though, her sole focus is on football.

Jackie Groenen (joined Manchester United from Frankfurt)

The Tilburg University law graduate and junior judo champion turned international midfielder starred for the Netherlands as they won Euro 2017 and reached the final of France 2019, where she scored the goal in the 1-0 semi-final victory over Sweden in Lyon. Groenen has 46 senior caps but, after being brought up in Belgium, had a teenage attempt to play for that adopted country blocked by Fifa. Not surprisingly, she now says it was a blessing in disguise. Groenen joins Casey Stoney’s promoted side from Frankfurt where she has spent the past four seasons following a brief spell at Chelsea in 2014. Back then the keen law student envisaged possibly combining a legal career with football but she returns to England as a full-time professional – not to mention United’s main summer signing.