Shaw has 42 goals in 30 senior caps for Jamaica

Credit: Manchester City

The Women’s Super League’s summer transfer window may only be a week old but it has already sparked into life with the arrival of one of the most prolific strikers in world football, with Jamaica’s Khadija ‘Bunny’ Shaw signing a three-year contract with Manchester City.

Known affectionately as Bunny ever since her brother came up with the nickname because of her childhood love of drinking carrot juice, fans have plenty of reason to be excited about the 24-year-old’s move from Bordeaux, not least because of her relentless goal-scoring record.

Her 42 goals in 30 senior caps for her country is one thing, but she similarly scored more than a goal per game in all competitions for the French club last term too, netting 24 times in 21 matches. She ended the campaign as the top scorer in France’s top flight, beating Paris Saint-Germain’s Marie-Antoinette Katoto to the golden boot and outperforming PSG and Lyon’s lengthy list of talents, and in doing so helped Bordeaux qualify for next season’s Women’s Champions League.

Manchester City will hope she can continue that form and produce a goals tally to match Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema and Chelsea’s Sam Kerr and Fran Kirby in the WSL scoring charts after a year when – despite their strong overall team contributions – City’s joint top scorers Ellen White and the injured Chloe Kelly were both 11 goals off the electrifying pace set by Golden Boot winner Kerr.

Yet there is much more to Shaw’s game too, as a forward who is capable of playing on either wing as well as through the middle, and that versatility will be invaluable to Gareth Taylor’s side as they seek to compete on multiple fronts, including a potentially packed fixture schedule with the Champions League’s new format and the conclusion of the prolonged 2020-21 Women’s FA Cup competition.

A product of the US college system, Shaw has proven she is capable of scoring goals from a huge array of positions as a complete forward, driving in powerful efforts from outside the area, running at goal past defenders for solo efforts and being in the right place at the right time to poke home the tap-ins that the best-positioned strikers are always there for. Perhaps her toughest task now could be replicating that form in the intensity of the WSL, but Shaw says she is up for the challenge.

“I want to be tested and I want to compete," she told reporters on Friday when unveiled by Manchester City to the gathered media on zoom. "There are a lot of unbelievable players in the league. It’s a new challenge, a new environment, and I’ll just come in and do whatever I can.

“I’m a simple but very unpredictable player. I could do something today and then tomorrow I do something different."

That City family welcome 🇯🇲💙

— Manchester City (@ManCity) June 18, 2021

Having briefly lived in Manchester when she was merely a baby, Shaw has great affection for the city and is now focused on the team, adding: “Obviously as a striker, you want to score goals, but for me it’s more about the team, do you know what I mean? If that means me not scoring a lot of goals but the team is very successful I’m fine with that, but for sure scoring a lot of goals will definitely be one of my objectives.”

Shaw, who was her national team’s leading light as they qualified for the Women’s World Cup for the first time for the 2019 event, hopes her move to City will inspire young Jamaicans, adding: “I think it’s definitely huge and it’s inspiring for younger girls that dream of being in the position that I am or better. Since I’ve signed for Manchester City, a lot of people have arrived to my house asking me questions and stuff like that.

“It’s another thing to think about and is motivating [me] because yes, I’m at the best, technically the best league in the world, but at the same time, I’m not only playing for myself, I’m playing for my family and the younger kids and the younger people in the Caribbean also."