Pernille Harder Chelsea badge gfxGetty/Goal

Harder joins WSL champions Chelsea from Wolfsburg for 'record fee'

Pernille Harder has joined Women's Super League champions Chelsea from Wolfsburg for what the German club have called "a record transfer fee for the women’s game".

The 27-year-old leaves Germany after almost four years, during which she won four Bundesliga titles and four German cups while scoring 103 goals in 112 games.

She played her final game for the club on Sunday in the Women's Champions League final, but was unable to secure a dream goodbye in the form of a European treble, with Lyon winning their fifth successive title in the competition.

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After being one of the hottest properties in Europe when she signed from Swedish club Linkopings in 2017, Harder has taken her game to another level with Wolfsburg. She ranked at No.5 in last year's Goal 50 and arrives at Chelsea as one of, if not the best player in the world right now.

"I’m extremely happy and extremely excited to get started, to finally be here and be a Chelsea player. I couldn’t be more happy," she said.

"I’m excited to just play for such a big club, to play with so many amazing players and to also be playing in the league. The English league, it’s so exciting at the moment and I’m really looking forward to it."

Harder joins a squad that already contains the likes of Sam Kerr, Bethany England, Ji So-yun and Guro Reiten - Goal's 2019-20 WSL Player of the Season.

It is a deal that further underlines the club's desire to secure a European title that has not only eluded the Blues over the years, but Harder herself too, with Sunday's defeat in the final her second in three years.

"Pernille is one of the best players in the world," Emma Hayes, head coach at Chelsea, added.

"Her record at Wolfsburg and Linkopings, as well as internationally with Denmark, shows how valuable she has been to her teams.

"She is a fantastic team player who wants to take her game to the next level. She chose Chelsea as the club that can push her to that level. She can play for any team in the world, but she chose us.

"She chose the players, the staff, the environment, the playing style. You can’t get a bigger compliment than that from one of the best players in the world."

Rumours of this deal have been around for some time, with Harder's partner, Magdalena Eriksson, currently the captain of Chelsea.

The pair played together at Linkopings and when asked about her future earlier this year, Harder admitted that the plan was for them to play together again, albeit when her contract expired in 2021.

"It is clear that we miss each other in everyday life, so the plan is that we, at least when my contract expires, will play together again," the Denmark captain told Fotbollskanalen in March.

"We talk a lot about this, about our future, and we think the same," Eriksson added. "We feel dangerous that our contracts expire at the same time and we want to try to find a solution that is good for both of us, which above all means that we get closer to each other.

"It will have more priority than it has had in our other decisions that we have made before."

Because Chelsea have chosen to secure Harder's signature this summer instead, Sportsbuzzer reported last week that the Blues would have to pay €350,000 for the forward - a record fee for a Bundesliga player.

Wolfsburg confirmed that the fee is a record for the women's game, with sporting director Ralf Kellerman saying: “Taking into account the fact that we are dealing with a record transfer fee for the women’s game – without going into the precise nature of the sum involved – and that Pernille was only going to be with us for another 10 months and had just played in the UWCL finals tournament for us, we decided that this was a fair solution for all involved.

“We would like to thank Pernille for the incredibly successful stage in her career and the wonderful performances that she enjoyed in a VfL Wolfsburg jersey, and wish her every success in the new challenge that she is taking on in England."

Talks between Eriksson and Chelsea over a new deal are now expected to accelerate too, with less than 12 months left on the Swede's current contract.