The era of million-dollar deals for female footballers remains elusive, according Arsenal’s title-winning coach Joe Montemurro.
Responding to reports that fellow Women’s Super League side Chelsea are prepared to offer Matildas star striker Sam Kerr a contract worth $1 million over two seasons, the high-achieving Australian expat stated: “I don’t think the women’s game is in that bracket quite yet, at least in terms of pure wages.”
Endorsements and sponsorships - in Kerr’s case a lucrative deal with Nike - can significantly boost the salaries paid by clubs.
But Montemurro is skeptical that any club side anywhere in the world is likely to pay its top talent more than $400,000 a season.
And there’s only one team in that category: four-time UEFA Champions League winners Lyon, the pre-eminent force in the women’s game.
“I’m sure there’s a lot to talk about Sam and her qualities and I’m sure there will be a lot of big clubs hovering around her trying to get her signature,” added Montemurro, who recently urged Australia’s most gifted players to head to Europe to perfect their craft.
Referring to Kerr, Montemurro said Arsenal were not among those in the mix for the goal-machine who alternates between W-League's Perth Glory and the Chicago Red Stars in America's NWSL.
The 25-year-old’s marquee deal with FFA is worth $400,000-a-year-alone, with add-ons from Nike and her Chicago contract possibly doubling that figure.
Her five goals at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and nine already in the NWSL this season have further boosted her visibility and marketability.
But Montemurro, among others operating in the English game, postulates that the figures being bandied about in relation to Chelsea are at the very least fanciful.
He contends that only the likes of big-spending superpower Lyon, who have won 13 Division 1 Féminine titles in a row, would be in a position to tempt her to Europe.
“I’ll be honest ... she has out-priced herself (at least in terms of the likes of Arsenal),” he added.
“There’s big, big money being thrown around for Sam Kerr and we (at Arsenal) just don’t spend that sort of money.
“We are not the sort of club that does that.
“The women’s game in general is not yet at the million dollar contract stage - certainly not in pure wages terms.
“A top echelon player at Lyon might be on up to €250,000 ($403,000).
“But when you talk about millions and stuff, I just can’t see it. I don’t think we’re at that stage yet.”
A typical pay package at one of England’s leading club sides - a Chelsea, Manchester City or Arsenal - might be worth up to £150,000 ($270,000) but that would include the value of accommodation and a car.
Orlando Pride’s Alex Morgan - currently preparing to play in the final of the Women’s World Cup in France - is acknowledged as the sport’s top earner.
Thanks to the enduring success of the USA, her annual income when combining national team payments, endorsements and club cash nudges the $650,000 mark.