‘Statement of intent’: Chelsea Women land Germany’s Melanie Leupolz | Football

Chelsea have agreed a deal to sign the Germany midfielder Melanie Leupolz. The Bayern Munich captain will join from the 2020-21 season on a three-year contract.

Images and video used by Chelsea in Monday’s announcement were taken a few weeks ago, long before social distancing was advised by the government in response to the developing coronavirus crisis.

The 25-year-old has been a mainstay at Bayern since switching from Freiburg in 2014, winning the Frauen-Bundesliga in her first two seasons there. Leupolz has been a regular for Germany since 2013, competing at four major tournaments, including winning the 2013 Women’s Euros and Olympic gold in 2016. She featured in four of Germany’s five Women’s World Cup matches in 2019, starting three times and scoring a header in their group stage 4-0 defeat of South Africa.

Leupolz is not the first World Cup stalwart recruited by Chelsea’s manager, Emma Hayes. Last summer the Norway forward Guro Reiten joined from LSK Kvinner before the tournament, and Australia’s Sam Kerr came in January.

Hayes told the Chelsea website: “Melanie has the right qualities that we look for in players at Chelsea. She’s got international experience, been the captain of Bayern Munich and her best years are yet to come.

“It’s a real statement of intent that she chose Chelsea and it shows just how far we’ve come as a football club. Melanie is versatile, she’s got wonderful qualities in the midfield areas and she will provide much-needed depth.”

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Hayes’s team beat Arsenal in the Continental League Cup final last month and will be in contention for a domestic treble, should the league and FA Cup resume.

Leupolz becomes the latest piece in Chelsea’s Champions League puzzle, with Hayes having been vocal about her desire to build a squad capable of toppling Lyon from their perch at the top of European women’s football.

Leupolz said: “I believe in what Chelsea are doing as a club and I am excited to be a part of that. They want to win titles, and so do I. I also like the style of football they play. I have seen a lot of their matches and I think it’s the right club for me.”

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