Chelsea Women close to signing Bronze

Chelsea Women are closing in on a deal for England right-back Lucy Bronze following the expiry of her Barcelona contract.

Bronze departed Barca in June having helped them win a second consecutive Champions League title.

Bronze is known as one of the game’s best defenders and has won 123 caps for England, which puts her sixth on the all-time appearance makers list for the Lionesses.

The 32-year-old defender is departing Spain after playing 70 games across two seasons for Barcelona. She won two European titles, two league titles and three domestic cups in her time there.

Before joining Barcelona, Bronze had two spells at Manchester City either side of a three-year stint at French club Lyon. She also had spells at Sunderland, Everton and Liverpool.

Chelsea are also close to signing midfielder Julia Bartel from the Liga F winners.

Julia Bartel (left) played in all six games of Spain U19s' Euro 2022 victory
Julia Bartel (left) played in all six games of Spain U19s’ Euro 2022 victory

The 20-year-old is a U19 European Championship winner with Spain, but has struggled to break through into the Barcelona first team and announced last week she would be leaving the club at the expiration of her contract.

When does the 2024/25 WSL season start?

The 2024/25 Women’s Super League season will start on the weekend of September 21 and 22.

The key dates for the top two divisions of women’s football next term have been confirmed, with the Barclays Women’s Championship starting a fortnight earlier on the weekend of September 7 and 8.

The winter break will take place between December 16 and January 18, with the WSL season ending on the weekend of May 10 and May 11, 2025.

The start of the new WSL season comes 42 days after the women’s gold medal final of the Olympic Games campaign.

Team GB failed to qualify for the Paris tournament after England’s unsuccessful Nations League campaign, although the United States, Brazil and France are among the teams to have qualified.

Meanwhile, the 2024/25 Women’s League Cup dates have also been confirmed, with the group stage running from early October until mid-December. The final will be played on the weekend of March 15 and 16, 2025.

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

Keep up-to-date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

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