Toni Duggan is likely to re-join former club Everton after confirming her departure from Atletico Madrid.
Duggan confirmed in May that she intended to leave Atletico once her contract expired this summer in the hope of returning to the WSL, citing the coronavirus pandemic and being separated from her family back home in England as a significant factor in her decision.
The 29-year-old also hopes that playing club football in England, having been abroad for four years after first signing for Barcelona in 2017, will put her in stronger contention for a return to the Lionesses squad after recently falling out of favour – especially with a home European Championship on the horizon next summer.
“After four really enjoyable years, it’s time to say goodbye to Spain,” Duggan explained in a personal statement posted on social media.
“I’ve had the honour of playing for two incredible clubs, helped them to create history and won trophies. Most importantly, I’ve met so many special people and created memories on and off the pitch that will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
Duggan played for Manchester City prior to leaving the WSL four years ago, although a return there is unlikely following the recent capture of prolific Jamaica international Khadija Shaw.
Manchester United could be a good match for Duggan as they are in desperate need for new forwards following the confirmed departures of Tobin Heath, Christen Press, Jess Sigsworth and Jane Ross.
Meanwhile, Tottenham and West Ham are ambitious WSL sides keen to improve on a disappointing 2020/21 season and would surely jump at the chance to sign a proven star.
However, it is Everton, where local hero Duggan started her senior career as a 16-year-old, that appear most likely to secure her signature. The Athletic revealed in early June that the Toffees were already ‘working to finalise’ a deal with their former player and now that her exit from Atletico has been confirmed it will likely to be made official soon.
After another improved season in 2020/21, Everton are putting together an ambitious recruitment drive in the hope of breaking up the WSL’s big three and returning to the Champions League.
Speaking in May, manager Willie Kirk alluded to a number of new signings with international experience for ‘top 10’ countries and plenty of ‘medals’ in their respective lockers.
Duggan fits that profile and her expected arrivals stands to be another huge boost for the Toffees.