Soccer-Lauren James joins Chelsea, Hannah Blundell signs for Man Utd

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Women's Super League - Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United
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(Reuters) -Chelsea have signed forward Lauren James on a four-year deal from Manchester United, the Women's Super League (WSL) champions said on Friday.

British media reported that the deal, worth 200,000 pounds ($275,220) with bonuses, is the biggest between WSL clubs. The initial fee is around 70,000 pounds ($96,327).

The 19-year-old, who is the younger sister of England men and Chelsea right back Reece James, was part of the United team that finished fourth in the league under manager Casey Stoney last season.

After a stint in the Chelsea youth academy, James made her debut for Arsenal aged 16 in October 2017. She switched to United a year later, where she helped the team achieve promotion to the WSL in the 2018-19 season.

"It's a great feeling to come back home, to a great club, the club I started at the age of six... I'm excited to get started and I can't wait to meet all the fans at Kingsmeadow when the new season kicks in," she said.

James has represented England at Under-17 and Under-19 level and received her first senior call-up as part of a training camp in November.

Defender Hannah Blundell moved in the other direction, joining United from Chelsea on a two-year contract with an option to extend for another 12 months.

England international Blundell joined Chelsea at the age of 16 and made 165 appearances for the club, winning 10 major honours.

United also signed goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley from Bristol City, while Norwegian midfielder Vilde Boe Risa joined earlier this week.

Chelsea travel to Arsenal for their season opener on Sept. 5, while United host Reading.

($1 = 0.7267 pounds)

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in BengaluruEditing by Christian Radnedge)

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