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Chelsea women sign Sam Kerr, one of the world’s most prolific scorers, who will join in January

Chelsea have announced the signing of striker Sam Kerr on a two-and-a-half-year deal ending months of speculation over the Australian international’s future.

The 26 year-old – one of the best strikers in the world – will arrive in January during the FA Women’s Super League mid-season transfer window on a big-money deal which is likely to make her the highest paid player in the country.

The transfer is a major coup for both Blues’ manager Emma Hayes and England’s top flight, with Kerr’s move having also prompted a bumper TV rights deal with broadcaster Optus Sport in her home nation.

Sam Kerr holds up her new Chelsea shirt with Emma Hayes and director Marina Granovskaia

Sam Kerr holds up her new Chelsea shirt with Emma Hayes and director Marina Granovskaia

After fending off competition from Lyon, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich to bring Kerr to the West London, Hayes told the club’s website: ‘The fact she [Kerr] chose Chelsea when she could have gone to any club in the world is a testament to the players and the staff here because she saw this is the best place for her to grow and take the next step in her career. That’s a wonderful compliment to us.’

Kerr, the all-time National Women’s Soccer League and Australian W-League top scorer had been plying her trade for Perth Glory and Chicago Red Stars in between leading her national team to the last 16 at the World Cup scoring five goals this summer.

The Australian goal machine gives the thumbs up as she is shown around Stamford Bridge

The Australian goal machine gives the thumbs up as she is shown around Stamford Bridge

Her arrival in England could spark a spending spree with clubs looking to exploit loopholes in the FA WSL’s ’40 per cent of their respective turnover’ salary cap to compete with the Blues.

‘The WSL is the best league in Europe,’ Kerr said in her first interview with the club.

‘I want team success and I don’t want it to come easy. I feel Chelsea have been building something special over the years and I want to be a part of that – I want to lift some trophies.’

And Hayes, who has been a long term admirer of England international Lucy Bronze is now also the likely front runner to land her signature when the right back’s contract with Lyon expires at the end of the season.

Kerr is the leading all-time scorer in the Australian league and scored five at the World Cup

Kerr is the leading all-time scorer in the Australian league and scored five at the World Cup

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