Aniek Nouwen: Who is the Dutch defender heading to Chelsea?

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Just days after retaining the Women’s Super League title, Chelsea have already bolstered their defensive line-up with Aniek Nouwen.

The Dutch defender has agreed a three-year deal with the Blues, and will join up with the team ahead of the 2021-22 season.

"There were other clubs who were interested, but I made my decision to join Chelsea pretty fast,” Nouwen said. “To play in the English league has always been a dream for me as it is the best competition and it provides the best opportunity for me to develop even more.

“I’m very honoured and proud to become a Blue and I can’t wait to be a part of this winning team. I want to win prizes and play in the big games.”

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GiveMeSport Women delves deeper into Nouwen’s transfer.

PSV star

Now 22-years-old, Nouwen began her professional career in 2016 with PSV Eindhoven. Despite her young age, she quickly established herself as an integral part of the team, achieving more than 100 appearances. She even popped up with 15 goals for the side.

Nouwen’s performances have contributed to an impressive season for PSV, who are battling for the top spot in the Eredivisie Vrouwen play-offs. The team are also set to contest the final of the KNVB Women’s Cup, having defeated Ajax on the way.

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International experience

Nouwen has significant experience playing for the Netherlands, considered one of the best national teams in the world. She made her senior team debut in 2019 and has gone on to make 14 appearances for her country.

Her first goal for the Netherlands came in a 7-0 victory over Estonia last October. Nouwen will be hoping her recent performances grant her selection for the Dutch squad for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Along with her senior experience, Nouwen was involved in the youth national set-up from an Under-17 level. She played at the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in 2018, featuring in every game as her side reached the quarter-finals.

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Where will she fit in?

Nouwen is unlikely to slot straight into the Chelsea starting XI – the squad is already brimming with talent. The youngster has described herself as a central defender, and would have to oust the likes of Magda Eriksson and Millie Bright to earn regular minutes.

Nonetheless, joining the Blues will offer Nouwen unprecedented access to the world's best players, giving her opportunity to learn and develop. Chelsea manager Emma Hayes suggested just that as she welcomed Nouwen to the club.

“Aniek really is an exciting addition to our squad,” she said. “Not only does she bring a wealth of league and international experience for her age, she is also very composed on the ball and her physicality will certainly suit the English league.

“I have no doubt Aniek is one of the best young defenders in the world and has a very bright future ahead of her with us. We cannot wait to welcome her to Cobham this summer.”

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