Chelsea have completed the signing of forward Maika Hamano from INAC Kobe Leonessa.
The 18-year-old will head out on loan to Swedish outfit Hammarby IF ahead of the start of the 2023 Damallsvenskan season.
Hamano has put pen to paper on a long-term contract with the Blues, keeping her at the club until the summer of 2027.
The Japan international is Chelsea’s first arrival of the January transfer window, and follows the exit of striker Bethany England to Tottenham at the beginning of the month.
“I am really proud to sign for a club which in my opinion is number one in the world,” Hamano said.
Hamano made her league debut for INAC Kobe Leonessa in September 2021, and has two goals in seven appearances this season.
She was a star performer at last year’s Under-20 World Cup, collecting the golden ball and silver boot awards after netting four goals in six appearances to fire Japan to second place.
The forward was rewarded with her senior Japan debut in a 2-0 friendly victory over Nigeria last October.
“Maika is a fantastic talent, she is a golden Ball and silver Boot winner having shone at the Under-20 World Cup last year,” added Emma Hayes. “We are really looking forward to seeing how Maika develops during her time out on loan with Hammarby IF in Sweden.”