As Alessia Russo edges closer to exiting Manchester United, best friend and teammate Ella Toone says she’ll always be proud of the striker.
“We’re joined at the hip…we’re best friends,” Toone said.
“We love playing together and being around each other, and we love each other’s company,” the Lioness added in a recent interview with 90 Min.
“That will never change, no matter where Alessia is. As a friend I will always be proud of what she does and goes on to achieve.”
Russo rejected United’s last offer of a new contract back in Summer 2022 and has been linked with a move to Lyon, with Chelsea and Arsenal also interested.
In January of this year, United rejected two world record bids for Russo from Arsenal despite potentially losing her on a free transfer in Summer.
“Right now, we’re at England camp and spending every day together. We’re playing football together and that’s the main thing. For now, it’s just enjoying now together and whatever happens, happens.”
Russo and Toone were a part of the Lionesses team that lifted the first women’s Finalissima trophy on Thursday.
Discussions with the club have been ongoing with Russo but an agreement has yet to be made. Toone’s comments may hint that Russo has made up her mind.
United boss Marc Skinner has praised his striker for staying focused during this time.
After scoring a hat-trick against Leicester he said, “There is a lot of love in our team for Alessia and she reciprocates that, she knows how important she is to us. What we’ve had to do is sweep away some of the noise around and just get her focusing – all credit to her, she has done that.”
He continued, “Alessia is a super-talented person. Us internally – you will judge her from the outside on goals and assists – but nothing has really ever changed, she has just continued to work hard. That’s how we’ll keep working with her and hopefully we can keep her at the club.”
There are eight players out of contract this summer that have an extension that could be triggered.
This include keeper Mary Earps and midfielder Hayley Ladd, who the club are hoping to tie into longer deals.
Vilde Boe Risa, Martha Thomas, Maria Thorisdottir, Hannah Blundell, back-up goalkeeper Sophie Baggaley and youngster Carrie Jones all have the option to extend.
Ona Batlle’s contract is up in the summer and her one-year extension has already been triggered.
Also out of contract is Aoife Mannion, who has just returned from injury, and loanees Emily Ramsay and Jade Moore.
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