England’s Fran Kirby signs for Brighton after lengthy Chelsea stint

After nine years at Chelsea, during which she established herself as the face of the club and of women’s football in England, Fran Kirby has put pen to paper on a new deal that will see her join Brighton & Hove Albion on what is believed to be a three-year deal.

Kirby, who started her career at Reading before making the leap to the Blues, has won 72 caps for England and scored 19 goals in the process. Now aged 31, Kirby expressed that she “wanted to stay in the league and when I spoke to Brighton and obviously my old teammate, Maria [Thorisdottir], it was some really exciting conversations in terms of the ambitions that the club has going forward.”

“I think you can already see that with the signings that have already been announced over the last couple of days where the club sees itself. And for me, it was just exciting to hear that kind of passion come from a football club and to be part of another project really and come in as a bit of an older, more experienced player,” she added.

PHOTO: James Boardman / BHAFC

During her time at Chelsea, the attacking midfielder contributed 192 combined goals and assists, and in her first interview as a Brighton player, she revealed that she “wanted to go somewhere where I could keep my standards up and help bring them into another club.”

“When I spoke to the people at Brighton and they told me how behind Tony Bloom is of the women’s game and how much they want to invest in it and push it forward and then seeing the facilities here, for me it was a really exciting opportunity and one I couldn’t really turn down.”

Brighton finished ninth in the Barclays Women’s Super League last season, 13 points clear of relegated Bristol City. Zoe Johnson, the club’s managing director of women’s and girls’ football, expressed that Kirby’s “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.”

“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.”

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