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Usmanov nephew made personal plea to keep Everton Women sensation

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Sarvar Ismailov - nephew of Alisher Usmanov - made a personal intervention in an attempt to keep Chloe Kelly at Everton Women.

Kelly enjoyed a breakout season in the Women's Super League - scoring nine goals in 11 appearances before the campaign was cut-short due to coronavirus - and was a key part of the set-up under Willie Kirk.

But the 22-year-old, who joined permanently from Arsenal in 2018 after an initial loan spell, rejected the offer of a new contract this summer and has left the club as a free agent.

The ECHO understands Ismailov - appointed sporting and commercial director for Everton Women in March - called Kelly's representatives in a bid to keep hold of the sensation ahead of next season.

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The forward, however, made the decision to exit in order to strengthen her status as one of the best female players in England as well as furthering her international chances.

The ECHO understands Kelly has already turned down approaches from Paris Saint Germain, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid this summer - Atletico in particular put together a stunning financial package - and her next club will be in England.

It is understood Chelsea made an offer to try and lure Kelly back to London in January but she remained at Everton where it is said she has "the greatest respect" for manager Kirk and his coaching staff.

Kelly was impressed by the support given to her by the club during the settling-in period after arriving on Merseyside in 2018 but felt, after an eye-catching season and with her terms expiring, the time was right to move on.

Following the bid from Chelsea, the starlet was aware she would face interest in the summer and from that point on a "tough" decision was six-months in the making before Everton eventually confirmed she would not be signing a fresh deal.

"Chloe is an incredible talent," manager Kirk said earlier this season following a brace against Bristol City.

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"She is a player with a big future. She has got a lot of improvements to make, especially out of possession. She can also improve her decision-making.

"Her creativity and directness are things I love. She is a huge player for me in terms of the way I want to play.

"We’re trying to improve her every day to make sure she hits the levels she is capable of. She has the ability to be a regular in the England squad."

The ECHO understands Kelly's new club is set to be announced this week.




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