Alessio Russo and Ona Batlle are leaving Manchester United when their contracts expire this month, the club has confirmed.
The departure of Batlle was expected, with the Spaniard widely expected to complete a move to FC Barcelona on June 30th.
Russo is a far more bitter blow, however, with negotiations going right down to the wire for the England star.
The striker scored in 10 WSL matches last season, helping United to a second-place finish under Marc Skinner.
On social media, the Three Lionesses’ star admitted that leaving was “the hardest decision” she “had ever had to make.”
But in a huge double-blow to United fans, Russo is now on the verge of joining bitter rivals Arsenal, as confirmed by Sky Sports News.
Arsenal finished in third place in the WSL last season and Russo will no doubt improve their chances of mounting a genuine title challenge next term.
Man United, meanwhile, no have two pairs of big shoes to fill, with both the England forward and Batlle both key players under Skinner.3
The manager would certainly have hoped to build upon what has been a fantastic season for the United Women’s team.
Now there is a sense of ‘one step forward, two steps back’ as United enter what could be a critical summer.
Marc Skinner has previously pointed out the lack of investment in the team under the Glazers’ tenure compared to their rivals, saying after the FA Cup final defeat that “The investment they [Chelsea] have put in over years and years and years is a factor as to why they win. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that.”
He will now be hoping that funds are available to replace Russo and Batlle, although one wonders if enough was done to keep his star player in Manchester in the first place.
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