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Racheal Kundananji sets record as most expensive transfer in women’s football history

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Zambian star Racheal Kundananji has signed for National Women’s Soccer League expansion side Bay FC for $860,000 (£685,000), breaking the world record as the most expensive player in women’s football history in the process. Additionally, she is the first African - male or female - to break a transfer fee record.

The US side have landed the forward from Madrid CFF, signing her on a four-year deal ahead of their debut NWSL campaign.

Kundananji played at last year’s Women’s World Cup, scoring once in a 3-1 victory over Costa Rica as her nation exited at the group stage. The 23-year-old spent 18 months with Madrid, netting both goals in a surprise win over Barcelona last year and finishing as the league’s second-highest scorer with 25 goals.

This term she has eight goals and two assists, with Madrid second in the standings.

Kundananji’s transfer to the California-based side comes a year and five months after Keira Walsh last set the world transfer record with her move from Manchester City to Barcelona for £400,000. It also marks the first time since 2020 that the record fee has not involved a buying or selling club from England.

As an aside, Mayra Ramirez’s transfer to Chelsea from Levante could eclipse the fee for Walsh once add-ons are paid, but that will now not be clear in first place as a total fee as it falls well short of the deal for Kundananji.

The escalation of transfer fees in women’s football is evident in this latest record deal being a huge 71% increase on the deal for Walsh, fewer than 18 months later.

Bay FC have also added former Liverpool and Arsenal attacker Asisat Oshoala to their squad from Barcelona ahead of the 2024 NWSL season, while 143-cap Scottish international defender Jen Beattie signed directly from the Gunners earlier this month. The campaign starts on 16 March, running through to November.