Fran Kirby: Brighton Women sign former Chelsea forward on free transfer | Football News


Brighton Women have signed Fran Kirby on a free transfer after the expiry of her Chelsea contract.

The 31-year-old England international departs Chelsea as their all-time leading scorer having netted 115 goals in 205 appearances since her arrival from Reading in 2015.

Kirby won 14 trophies during a decorated nine-year spell in west London including seven Women’s Super League titles, five FA Cups and two League Cups.

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Kirby scored on her last appearance for Chelsea against Manchester United

She is also a two-time winner of the PFA Women’s Player of the Year and Football Writers’ Women’s awards and has won 70 caps for England, scoring 19 goals and helping them win the Euros in 2022.

Kirby admits she would “love” to be involved at next year’s European Championships but her decision to move to Brighton was not based on that ambition.

Brighton have yet to reveal the length of Kirby’s contract.

She told a press conference: “I’d love to go to another Euros but I will never base my decision on the future.

“For me it’s what’s right for me now and where I feel like I’m going to get the best out of myself. Being close to home and being at a club that wants to push the women’s game is something I wanted to do.

“For me if I feel valued in an environment then I know I’m going to get the best out of myself.

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Kirby explains the joy to get a goal on her final appearance for Chelsea and what it means to leave on a winning high

“When I spoke to Brighton they were so complimentary of me as a player and as a person. For me, feeling valued is one of the most important things as a footballer and I felt that as soon as I spoke to them on the phone and got to know the people around the building.

“That was probably my main reason behind it but of course I’d love to do everything I can to be involved in another Euros and help the Lionesses win it again.”

Kirby also revealed she wanted to remain in the WSL following her Chelsea exit and therefore she “couldn’t turn down” Brighton.

England's Fran Kirby with the trophy following victory over Germany in the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Sunday July 31,
Kirby helped the Lionesses to Euro 2022 glory

She said: “I wanted to go somewhere where I could keep my standards up and help bring those standards into another club.

“I wanted to stay in this league because I still want to be competing week in and week out and as long as I can help a team progress then that’s what I want to do.

“When I spoke to Brighton and they told me how the owner was behind the women’s game, how much they wanted to invest in it and push it forwards and seeing the facilities here, for me it was a really exciting opportunity and one that I felt I couldn’t really turn down.”

Zoe Johnson, Brighton’s managing director of women’s and girls’ football, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to welcome Fran to the club.

“She arrives as one of the most decorated English footballers of all time, playing an integral role in Chelsea’s recent dominance, as well as on the international stage having been a part of England’s Euro 2022 win.

“Her experience on the pitch will be just as important off it and we have no doubt that she will help us take a significant step towards our long-term targets.”

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