Chelsea Women have signed Pernille Harder from the Champions League finalists Wolfsburg for a fee believed to be around £300,000, which would be a world record in the women’s game.

The Denmark international, 27, is considered to be one of the best players in the world and the Wolfsburg Frauen sporting director, Ralf Kellermann, admitted it was an extremely tough decision to accept Chelsea’s offer.

He said: “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.”

Harder won four successive Bundesliga titles with Wolfsburg after joining in 2017 and reached two Champions League finals but lost both against Lyon.

Harder said: “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. 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 [Women’s Super League]. The English league, it’s so exciting at the moment and I’m really looking forward to it.”

The signing is another coup for Chelsea and their manager, Emma Hayes, who have brought in the Bayern Munich captain Melanie Leupolz this summer together with Niamh Charles from Liverpool and the Canada international Jessie Fleming from UCLA Bruins.

In January another of the world’s leading players, Sam Kerr, joined Chelsea, having decided she would not return to Perth Glory after finishing the NWSL season with Chicago Red Stars.

It’s official! 👊@PernilleMHarder is a Blue! #PlayHarder

In three and a half seasons at Wolfsburg Harder scored 105 goals in 114 games and was voted the best player in the world by the Guardian in 2018. In 2019 she finished eighth.

Hayes said: “Pernille is one of the best players in the world. Her record at Wolfsburg and Linköping, 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.”

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