BREAKING NEWS: Alessia Russo LEAVES Manchester United after 18 months of failed contract negotiations… with Arsenal set to capture England star on a free transfer
- Alessia Russo has left Man United after failing to agree a contract extension
- United were keen to keep their star striker but were slow to match Arsenal’s offer
- Russo has interest from America and Europe but is likely to join the Gunners
Alessia Russo has left Manchester United after rejecting multiple contract offers, with the England striker now likely to join rivals Arsenal on a free transfer.
Russo, 24, has been in-demand since last summer’s Euros and attracted a world record bid from the Gunners in January, which United turned down.
Arsenal can now sign Russo without paying a fee and are the front-runners to do so, but there is also interest from two American clubs as well as at least one other European side – thought to be French champions Lyon.
United had hoped that qualifying for the Champions League and finishing second in the WSL would be enough to convince Russo to stay.
The club believe they made the forward a very good offer, which would have seen her become the highest-paid player in the history of United’s women’s team, and are disappointed she decided not to accept.
Alessia Russo (right) has left Manchester United after failing to agree a contract extension
Russo is likely to join Arsenal who are front-runners to capture the now free agent
Russo’s representatives had been trying to agree a new deal with United for the last 18 months but had become frustrated by how long negotiations were taking. United eventually agreed to match Arsenal’s wage offer but not until late on in the process, which is believed to have been the driving force behind her decision to leave.
Polly Bancroft, United’s head of women’s football, had started negotiations before Sam Barnett, who is responsible for contracts on the men’s side, was drafted in to help.
It is understood Russo was willing to stay at United, the team she has supported since childhood, but their reluctance to match Arsenal’s wage off until late on was the deciding factor in her leaving.
Russo cannot officially sign for another club until July 1 but is keen to have her future decided before flying to Australia for the World Cup.
She also wanted the speculation over whether she would stay at United cleared up before reporting to England’s team camp on Monday.
The forward finished as United’s joint top scorer last season alongside Leah Galton, with 10 goals in 20 games.
Russo started career in Charlton’s youth set-up before moving to Chelsea and then Brighton.
She then spent two years in America with college team Carolina Tar Heels before joining United in September 2020.
Russo wanted her club future sorted before flying to Australia for the upcoming World Cup
Russo was United’s joint top scorer last season after bagging 10 goals in 20 matches