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Alessia Russo to leave Manchester United

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Manchester United v Aston Villa - Barclays Women’s Super League Photo by Ashley Allen - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Alessia Russo, Manchester United’s star forward of the last few seasons, announced on Friday that she will be leaving the club at the end of June.

Manchester United has since confirmed it with a farewell tweet.

Contract talks over an extension took place towards the end of the 2021/22 campaign, in which Russo established herself as a top forward in the FA Women’s Super League. She scored 11 goals in all competitions before scoring 4 times for England in a breakout UEFA Women’s Euro campaign. She helped England take home it’s first major trophy in Women’s football, and first major trophy in any international competition since the 1966 FIFA World Cup.

Since then clearly Russo’s value has only gone up, but United failed to reward her for it. She added another solid campaign in 2022/23 with 13 goals in just 24 appearances as United finished 2nd in the league and runners up in the FA Cup. With Champions League football secured and a best ever season at the young club, one would assume that the club would have an interest in keeping the group together.

Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.

According to an article on The Athletic, United failed to make any meaningful follow up to contract talks until just before the final game of the FA WSL season.

Failure to secure extensions for Ona Batlle and Alessia Russo is a damning indictment of the way Manchester United manage their women’s team. Arguably the two most important players will leave at the end of June, in the prime of their careers, simply because the club couldn’t be bothered to match the wages of other clubs they supposedly aim to compete with.