Arsenal have turned down a ‘substantial bid’ from Chelsea for Katie McCabe.
It came as a great surprise when Sky Sports and the Telegraph revealed that Chelsea had made a bid for the Arsenal defender/winger Katie McCabe over the weekend.
Katie is one of the longest serving players at the club having signed back in 2015 under Pedro Losa.
So, why would Chelsea make a bid so late in the transfer window?
First, it has to be said that, despite having more than 25 professional players contracted, they only have one genuine left-back: the Russian player Alsu Abdullina.
They either play right-backs, center-backs or midfielders in that position. So, it would make sense for them to sign a seasoned player there.
On the Arsenal side, it makes sense to reject the bid, as there is no reason to strengthen a direct opponent in the title race.
McCabe is an important player at the club, she has the third-highest game time overall in the squad, only bettered by Steph Catley and Manuela Zinsberger.
She has also started all games this season but three: The home game against Ajax and Zurich, and the League game against Chelsea.
McCabe is obviously no longer the first choice at left-back as Steph Catley has now established herself in that position. She is not also not the first choice on the wing, right or left but is the first option used, when a starter is not available.
She originally started the season on the left wing with Catley at left-back. Then the simultaneous injuries of the two main centre-back meant Catley went to centre-back and McCabe took over the left-back spot.
When the two centre-back came back from their injuries, Beth Mead unfortunately did her ACL which opened a spot on the right-wing.
Arsenal have recalled Gio from her Everton loan and with Lina Hurtig now finding her rhythm and space in the team, there is a slight chance that McCabe game-time might decrease in the second half of the season.
This is an unlikely scenario to see her in a Jordan Nobbs situation.
The big question is who leaked the story to the Telegraph and Sky Sports?
It is quite obvious that it was not a bid made to unsettle the player and the club. Otherwise, the news would have come before the Emirates Stadium League game a couple of weeks ago and not the night before an FA Cup tie against a fourth tier side.
It looks more like an opportunistic bid triggered by an information given to Chelsea that McCabe could be eventually interested in joining: A title winner with the north Londoners in 2019, McCabe is believed to be open to discussing the possibility of a move to Chelsea, which would, if it could be agreed, represent a major moment in this hugely competitive WSL season
There is also this quote about McCabe’s interest:
Sensational scoop here from Tom and @SkyAnton – Having followed up with my sources, I understand McCabe was recommended by several senior CFCW players as a good recruitment option. McCabe would like to meet Emma Hayes to discuss any proposal. https://t.co/VS3pPX6l5n
— Rob (@RJPJournalism) January 28, 2023
It is obvious that Arsenal had no interest in leaking the story, and the same could be said for Chelsea with Emma Hayes continuing her stance that no more signings were coming in this window.
It matches up with Jonas Eidevall closing the door to the move on Sunday in the mixed zone: “There is absolutely no chance of that move happening,” he told reporters.
With Katie McCabe’s contract reportedly up in 18 months, you do wonder if it is a plot to put some pressure on the club in a new contract negotiation or simply a player needing a new challenge after seven years at the club.
The other option is that something happened behind the scenes between the player and the coaching staff.
We will see what the future brings, but Chelsea might might end up signing a different left-back in the summer or come back again like they are planning to do with PSG’s Grace Geyoro.