England international midfielder Keira Walsh joined Spanish side Barcelona from Manchester City, the Women's Super League club said on Wednesday, with British media reporting the deal was for a world-record fee of around 350,000 pounds ($401,170).
The previous world record women's transfer stood at a fee in excess of 250,000 pounds, which Chelsea had paid in 2020 to sign Denmark's Pernille Harder from VfL Wolfsburg.
Acord amb el Manchester City pel traspàs de Keira Walsh— FC Barcelona Femení (@FCBfemeni) September 7, 2022
Walsh, 25, who joined City in 2014 as a teenager and played 211 matches in all competitions for them, lifted eight trophies with the club in as many years.
She was in the final year of her contract at City, who had reportedly rejected previous bids from Spanish champions Barca.
A versatile player who can operate as a playmaker or defensive midfielder, Walsh was part of the England side that captured the woman's European Championship this year and was part of the team of the tournament.
We can confirm that @keira_walsh has joined Barcelona.Thank you Keira for your contributions during your time at City! Wishing you all the best for the future
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 7, 2022
"Everybody at Manchester City would like to thank Keira for her contributions during her time at the club and wish her all the best for the future," City said in a statement.
England internationals Lucy Bronze and Georgia Stanway as well as Scotland's Caroline Weir have all left City in recent months while Karen Bardsley, Ellen White and Jill Scott have retired.
City was third in the 2021-22 WSL season behind champion Chelsea and second-placed Arsenal. Barcelona won the Spanish league last season and was runner-up in the Champions League.
($1 = 0.8724 pounds)
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru. Editing by Christian Radnedge)