SWPL now more attractive to foreign players - Fran Alonso

Sarah Teegarden, left, and Chloe Craig, right, are Fran Alonso's first signings as Celtic women head coach
Sarah Teegarden, left, and Chloe Craig, right, are Fran Alonso's first signings as Celtic women head coach

New Celtic women's head coach Fran Alonso believes Scotland is becoming a much more attractive prospect for players abroad.

Rangers and Celtic are both offering professional contracts while champions Glasgow City have some semi-pro deals.

Alonso, who has signed American duo Sarah Teegarden and Summer Green, is looking to add more full-time targets.

And he says players being attracted to Scotland is "something that perhaps didn't happen before".

"I was in England, which is one of the best leagues in the world - with France and Germany - and I can hear it, you don't say no to Celtic," Alonso said. "It's a statement by a massive club and that attracts players of course.

"We've already got some targets - I've been talking to the decision makers. We want Celtic to be very successful in the women's side as well as the men's, and will bring in the best players we can."

BBC Scotland understands there will be seven full-time players at Celtic initially, with the aim of increasing that number.

Midfielder Teegarden, 24, was most recently with French side Lille and has also played professionally in Sweden and America.

Forward Summer Green, 24, has been capped at Under-17, Under-20 and Under-23 level and spent last season with Swedish club Vittsjo.

Alonso, who served as a technical coach at Southampton under Mauricio Pochettino and was Ronald Koeman's assistant at Everton, took the reins at Celtic this week after leaving English Women's Championship side Lewes.

He is determined to build a side capable of challenging Glasgow City, who have won the last 13 SWPL1 titles.

"We will try our best to challenge for the title but it's a transition from last year to this year and it's about how quickly we can adjust," he said.

"City have to be favourites, but what a nice challenge for us that they're the team to beat. And if we do achieve it one year it will be like 'wow!' - that's what a club like Celtic should be achieving.

"In the next two or three years I think we will have to fight to be in the Champs League."