Alessia Russo: Why England striker swapped Man Utd for Arsenal

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Alessia Russo scored for Manchester United in each WSL video games towards Arsenal final season

Alessia Russo’s free switch to Arsenal ends months of hypothesis in regards to the England striker’s future.

Russo, 24, attracted curiosity from a few of Europe’s high golf equipment following three spectacular seasons at Manchester United.

But regardless of Arsenal ending one place under United within the Women’s Super League (WSL) within the final marketing campaign, the Gunners have been in a position to persuade Russo her future lies in north London. So why did she make the transfer and what affect might she have at her new membership?

Why did Russo depart Manchester United?

Securing European soccer was essential for United’s hopes of holding Russo – that they had completed one spot off qualification for three successive seasons – which they achieved by ending runners-up within the WSL.

They additionally reached the FA Cup remaining for the primary time, simply 5 years after the ladies’s skilled group was reformed.

But regardless of success on the pitch underneath supervisor Marc Skinner, Russo was left pissed off by gradual progress off it when negotiating the phrases of a contract renewal.

Arsenal had proven their hand – providing a bid of virtually £500,000 for the striker in January – whereas United had not managed to tie down a number of key gamers to new offers in 2023.

Full-back Ona Batlle left for Barcelona on the expiry of her contract this summer time, whereas Fifa Best goalkeeper Mary Earps has only one season remaining on her deal.

United have been mentioned to have matched Arsenal’s wage presents, however Russo felt it took too lengthy for them to comply with her phrases.

And regardless of United’s clear development final season they’re nonetheless of their infancy within the WSL, whereas Arsenal are certainly one of England’s most profitable girls’s groups – remaining the one British membership to win the European Cup, in 2007.

Why did Arsenal need to signal Russo?

The Gunners had adopted her progress after she got here by way of Chelsea’s academy, performed for Brighton and represented England at youth stage.

Their intentions to signal Russo grew to become clear in January 2023 when United turned down two world-record bids for the striker on switch deadline day.

Arsenal’s efforts to signal a confirmed goalscorer had been accelerated by main anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) accidents to Euro 2022 Golden Boot winner Beth Mead and Netherlands star Vivianne Miedema.

Despite a robust finish to the 2022-23 WSL season by striker Stina Blackstenius, Arsenal’s high scorer for the marketing campaign was midfielder Frida Maanum with 9 targets – seventh within the general standings.

Arsenal completed third, qualifying for the Champions League regardless of shedding quite a few key gamers to long-term accidents, however their squad was examined by a gruelling schedule as they competed on all fronts.

Meanwhile, Russo was United’s joint-top scorer final season with 10 targets and one help in 20 matches, and was a breakout star at Euro 2022, coming off the bench to attain 4 occasions.

She will arrive at Arsenal recent from the Women’s World Cup with England and might be eager to make an impression in her first season competing within the Champions League.

How will Russo match into the Arsenal group?

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Image caption,

England’s Beth Mead (left) and Alessia Russo (proper) loved success collectively at Euro 2022

Russo’s expertise is obvious and she or he has confirmed her price for each United and England since returning to the nation in 2020.

She scored 26 targets in 59 video games in all competitions for United and has 11 targets in 22 senior England appearances.

Russo performs as a quantity 9 who likes to drop deep, can maintain the ball up nicely and is powerful within the air.

She is conversant in enjoying alongside England winger Mead – having fun with success collectively at Euro 2022 – and can obtain loads of service from Arsenal’s formidable midfield duo of Kim Little and Lia Walti.

But Russo should compete for a spot within the beginning XI with Miedema and Mead set to return from damage, whereas Blackstenius led the road final season regardless of criticism she was usually wasteful in entrance of objective.

Australia’s Caitlin Foord was a standout performer for Arsenal in 2022-23 earlier than an damage disrupted the top of her marketing campaign.

With a completely match squad, supervisor Jonas Eidevall has a lot to select from in assault. But Arsenal, who reached final season’s Champions League semi-finals and received the League Cup, need to compete on all fronts and can want better squad depth.

Russo’s arrival provides them one other robust centre-forward choice, who will relish the service supplied by key wingers Foord and Mead.

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