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How much will pandemic stifle the NWSL transfer market?

Dzsenifer Marozsán (Photo Copyright Lewis Gettier for The Equalizer)

Recent rumors of the impending arrival of German midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan and French goalkeeper Sarah Bouhaddi from Lyon to Utah Royals FC would, under normal circumstances, be major news in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Under the current circumstances, it is the only player transaction-related news in the league.

Nothing is normal about the current worldwide shutdown of sports — and other business deemed non-essential — and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are being felt across the entire workforce of leagues and teams. For those whose jobs are centered around roster management and building teams, day-to-day operations appear to be at a standstill, including the NWSL’s moratorium on waivers and trades. Aside from a few players announcing new contracts with their current teams during this time, the transfer market is stuck in the uncertainty of the wider world.

“We’re dealing with the variables that we know of,” Portland Thorns general manager and president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson said when asked about long-anticipated incoming transfers. “And with both [prospective] internationals on the women’s side, we’re looking at them not joining the team until we have a very clear idea from the CDC on how we can navigate the immigration and process of moving those players.”

Utah has not officially commented on the Marozsan and Bouhaddi rumors which were widely reported in France. One source told The Equalizer that the deals were in the works since the beginning of the year. Marozsan’s arrival would certainly fit the bill of the major midfield signing that sources indicated was still to come for Utah upon the trade which sent United States international Becky Sauerbrunn to Portland.

The biggest buzz this offseason, however, surrounded the Thorns.

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