Barcelona sign Keira Walsh from Manchester City for world record fee

England midfielder Keira Walsh has joined Barcelona from Manchester City, the clubs have announced. The 25-year-old, one of the stars of the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 success over the summer, had been with City since 2014 and had a year remaining on her contract.

It is understood that after previous bids from Barça for Walsh were rejected, a fee – reportedly around £350,000 – was agreed before Wednesday’s 11pm Spanish transfer deadline, which makes her the world’s most expensive female footballer. Walsh has signed a three-year deal with the Spanish champions.

Two years ago the Denmark forward Pernille Harder joined Chelsea from Wolfsburg for what was reported to be a world-record fee in excess of £250,000. On Wednesday, Harder said she was happy to see her record broken. “It’s good for women’s football to get the money rolling,” said Harder. “That’s what I wanted. I wanted to start something new.”

Completion of Walsh’s move adds to the list of England players to have departed City this summer, which includes Lucy Bronze leaving to sign for the same Spanish club in June. Georgia Stanway has moved to Bayern Munich, while Ellen White and Jill Scott have retired.

Barcelona are the Spanish title holders, and were Champions League runners-up last season, a year on from beating Chelsea 4-0 to win the competition.

City finished third in the Women’s Super League last season and were eliminated in the first qualifying round of this season’s Champions League qualifiers by Real Madrid.

Walsh, who won the 2016 WSL title, three FA Cups and four League Cups with City, earned her 50th England cap in Tuesday’s 10-0 win over Luxembourg in Stoke. She also played for Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.