Arsenal are hoping to sign England striker Alessia Russo if she opts to leave Manchester United when her current contract expires at the end of next month, 90min understands.
Russo has become one of the faces of women’s football in England since a breakout club season in 2021/22 and a starring role for the Lionesses at last summer’s European Championship.
In need of attacking reinforcements at the midway point of last season, Arsenal made two world record offers for Russo during the January transfer window, the second thought to have hit the £500,000 mark. Those bids were rebuffed by Manchester United, who placed greater value on the player’s importance to their efforts to break into the WSL top three for the first time.
Russo went on to reach 12 goals in all competitions as United finished above the Gunners, including a hat-trick against Leicester and winning goals against Arsenal in November and April.
The 24-year-old rejected a new contract shortly before Euro 2022, which saw United trigger a 12-month option in her existing deal for the 2022/23 season. Talks have continued and the club remain keen for Russo to stay. It is believed she had been offered a six-year contract that would have tied up her future until 2029. A shorter compromise is being explored.
Read the latest Women’s Super League news here
Manager Marc Skinner has repeatedly expressed his desire for both Russo and Ona Batlle, who is understood to have verbally agreed a contract with Barcelona, to stay. But the boss was also defiant in the final days of the season with his insistence that no single player will make or break his team.
United are planning to be active in the transfer market ahead of competing in the Champions League. The club has targeted a number of emerging talents, already securing the signing of Evie Rabjohn and on course to land 17-year-old Scotland international Emma Watson. As 90min reported earlier this month, talks have also been held with Netherlands winger Esmee Brugts, who will celebrate her 20th birthday in July but is viewed as a more immediate first-team player.
As for Arsenal, Vivianne Miedema was primarily seen as a ‘number 10’ prior to her ACL injury in December, with Stina Blackstenius taking over as the first choice ‘number nine’ – the Swede managed 18 goals in all competitions, although only eight were scored in the WSL. Meanwhile, veteran striker Jodie Taylor was signed on a short-term contract in March to provide additional cover.
Arsenal’s need for additional firepower remains. Even though both Beth Mead and the aforementioned Miedema will likely to back in action at some point in the autumn, Mana Iwabuchi has struggled to establish herself and spent the second half of the season on loan at Tottenham, while Lina Hurtig failed to score a single WSL goal during a stop-start debut campaign.
Source : 90min.com