How can Manchester United replace Russo?

Manchester United have confirmed that Alessia Russo will leave the club this summer, leaving as a free agent upon the expiration of her current contract. Russo’s departure shouldn’t come as a surprise to most United fans though, as several clubs have been keen to sign the 24-year-old forward – with Arsenal as the frontrunners.

While Russo’s next destination hasn’t officially been confirmed, it’s understood that Arsenal have offered her a hefty salary – roughly double the amount she was earning at the Red Devils. Jonas Eidevall’s side have a plethora of attacking talent, and the Swede will certainly have his work cut out if he is to rotate the likes of Viv Miedema, Beth Mead, Stina Blackstenius and Alessia Russo.

Yet a return to the United States is also on the cards for Russo, who spent two years playing for the North Carolina Tar Heels as a teenager. With women’s football continually on the rise in the USA, it would certainly prove to be an interesting move for the striker.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Existing Options

Much like Arsenal, United already have a wealth of attacking talent at their disposal. In the 2022/23 WSL season, Russo scored ten goals – so we’re looking for someone capable of replicating that output.

The standout option is Leah Galton, who truly made the left-wing spot her own this season. Just like Russo, she scored ten goals – but also registered four assists. In fact, Galton has proven that she is more clinical than the departing Russo, boasting a shot conversion rate of 33% compared to Russo’s 19%.

Lucía García will also feel that she deserves consideration, boasting eight goals in the league this term. This is made even more impressive when you consider that the Spaniard appeared for just 759 minutes – meaning she averages 0.95 goals per 90. Of course, the argument remains that García tends to feature as a substitute against tiring legs in the dying minutes – but she is surely worth a shot.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Rachel Williams and Martha Thomas could both be in contention if United look to replace Russo with an existing squad member. Williams’ appearances have been limited to short cameos as a substitute, though she has managed four goals in just 268 minutes of league football. Martha Thomas has scored just once in 408 minutes.

Ivana Ferreira Fuso will return from her loan stint at Bayer Leverkusen, but the Brazilian has failed to set the Frauen Bundesliga alight – managing just one goal in 963 minutes of league football.

Summer Transfer Targets

So then, if Manchester United decide to look elsewhere, who would be a good option?

Brighton have two great attacking options that would fit in perfectly at United and fill the void left by Alessia Russo. Danielle Carter and Elisabeth Terland played a crucial role in the Seagulls’ survival this season, with a combined twelve goals. Carter averages 0.55 goals per 90, while Terland sits at a slightly less impressive 0.46 – but either player would be a great acquisition. Carter will become a free agent on July 1 upon the expiry of her Brighton contract, so she could be a smart signing for Marc Skinner’s side.

Everton’s Katja Snoeijs has a year remaining on her contract with the Toffees, having signed for the club last summer. If United can prise her away from Merseyside, she may be an underrated addition to Marc Skinner’s team – and with 0.38 goals per 90, she’s proven she’s capable of scoring in the WSL. Of course, those numbers aren’t as impressive as Alessia Russo’s, but they’d surely increase with service from the likes of Leah Galton, Nikita Parris and co.

United could also look to make a move for Aston Villa’s Rachel Daly, who may be keen on a move to a club that has a spot in next season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League – though she has two years remaining on her contract in the midlands. Securing Daly’s signature would be incredibly impressive, and a real statement of intent if United were able to bring in the league’s top scorer.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Bethany England is also worth looking at, with twelve goals in as many games for the Lilywhites since she joined in the January transfer window. Spurs may be reluctant to let her leave though, as she’s contracted with the club until 2026 and was crucial to their WSL survival.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

But if United were to look further afield and recruit from outside the WSL, the options would be almost endless. I’ve focused my attention on Spain’s Liga F and Germany’s Frauen Bundesliga – but there are plenty of potential candidates across the world, and United may look to pick up a bargain from a lesser-known league.

Madrid CFF’s Racheal Kundananji looks to be one of the better options. Her side finished fifth in Liga F last season, and Kundananji scored 25 of the team’s 65 league goals. 1.02 goals per 90 minutes is a very, very respectable return – though United will surely face competition to secure her signature.

Melissa Kössler could look for a move to Manchester United, though she would certainly come at a cost for the Red Devils. The 23-year-old boasts impressive numbers for Hoffenheim in the Frauen Bundesliga, but she is just one year into a three-year deal at the German side. However, 0.74 goals per 90 minutes could be enough to tempt Marc Skinner’s side into an audacious bid for the young forward.

Staying in Germany, if United would prefer a striker who has proven her worth consistently, they could look to sign Eintracht Frankfurt’s Laura Freigang. This season, the forward has scored 10 league goals – with an average goals per 90 figure of 0.57, which sits just behind Alessia Russo’s 0.58. Yet this season has actually been one of Freigang’s worst: she managed an incredible 0.79 goals per 90 in both the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *