Chelsea add two of Europe's bright young talents as Emma Hayes refreshes team

Sjoeke Nusken at Stamford Bridge - Chelsea to sign United States international Catarina Macario on free transfer - Getty Images/Harriet Lander

Chelsea are expected to sign United States international Catarina Macario on a free transfer this summer. It is understood a deal has been reached for the move to be finalised when the 23-year-old attacking midfielder's contract with Lyon expires at the end of the season.

And in another major coup, Chelsea have also secured the signature of Sjoeke Nusken from Eintracht Frankfurt. The 22-year-old German defensive midfielder will move to London on 1 July for an undisclosed fee in a deal that will run until 2026.

Both players are among the most sought-after younger talents of the global women's game, but the capture of Macario in particular will be a hugely significant addition to the Women's Super League.

One of the United States' up-and-coming stars, Macario has scored eight goals in 17 senior international caps for the world champions. She helped her current club Lyon win last season's Women's Champions League.

Chelsea are wasting no time in strengthening their squad after losing to Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League this term and manager Emma Hayes was delighted to have recruited Nusken.

Catarina Macario at Lyon - Chelsea to sign United States international Catarina Macario on free transfer - Getty Images/Francesco Scaccianoce
Catarina Macario at Lyon - Chelsea to sign United States international Catarina Macario on free transfer - Getty Images/Francesco Scaccianoce

"Sjoeke is a fantastic young midfield player and her ability to play the ball deep into the opponents' half is not her only standout strength, there is everything from her interceptions, her reading of the game and her overall presence," said Hayes. "She’s dynamic, good aerially, and is going to be a fantastic signing for this club."

Chelsea general manager Paul Green added: "We’re delighted to have completed the signing of Sjoeke as a player we’ve been following for the last few seasons. We think she’s at a great age and ready to take the next step in her career. We feel her style is going to fit the English game really well."

Chelsea are once again are evolving their team

One of the secrets to Hayes' sustained success at Chelsea - with whom she lifted a 13th major trophy on Sunday with victory in the Women's FA Cup final - has been the club's ability to regularly refresh  the side and keep bringing through new talent ahead of the 'peak' years of their career.

The age profile of Macario and Nüsken, 23 and 22 respectively, fits that model perfectly and both will now be integral parts of Chelsea's plans in the coming years.

Throughout Hayes' tenure, the club have also always tended to get the majority of their summer business done early in the year, and it's understood they are very close to further international additions. Hayes was asked about recruitment for this summer on Tuesday in her press conference ahead of facing West Ham United in the WSL on Wednesday and she said: "We’re nearly done. Recruitment never ends but we’ve done a lot of our business already."

Securing Macario's signature comes at a time when there are widespread reports that Denmark captain Pernille Harder is likely to leave the club this summer at the end of her contract, and whilst the 30-year-old is extremely popular in west London, Macario would likely be seen by many as a more-than adequate replacement. It is exactly the sort of evolution of Chelsea's starting XI that Chelsea fans have become accustomed to in recent years, as the club seek to stay on top of the pile in England.

They are currently three wins away from a fourth consecutive WSL title and Macario and Nüsken joining will give fans of rivals clubs little hope that Chelsea's dominant era will be ending anytime soon.