Manchester United Women have undergone a pretty seismic shakeup this offseason after losing their best player in Ona Batlle, arguably their second best player and top goal scorer in Alessia Russo, and a host of veterans and squad players, as well as young players going out on loan.
With that exodus of talent, the club went to work to reinforce the team and have fans very much looking forward to the 2023/24 season with the talent brought in.
Head of Women’s football Polly Bancroft, ya done good.
So here is a quick introduction to each of the new arrivals from this summer ahead of the season opener on Sunday.
Phallon Tullis-Joyce- Signed for a goalkeeper transfer record $160,000, Tullis-Joyce joined United from NWSL side Seattle Reign, where she was the no. 1 from the 2022 season until her departure.
Tullis-Joyce is no doubt talented, but her arrival sadly indicates the looming departure of the Reds’ beloved current starter, England no. 1 and FIFA Best women’s goalkeeper Mary Earps. Earps was courted by Arsenal among other clubs this summer, and she seemingly wanted to move before the season.
Now Tullis-Joyce and Earps will both be in the goalkeeper room, making it one of the strongest in football for the time being.
Evie Rabjohn- One of a few youngsters making a move to United this summer, Rabjohn is a product of Aston Villa’s academy. She’s already made three league appearances for Villa, and is also a member of England’s youth teams.
While Rabjohn isn’t likely to feature regularly for United any time soon, she is a player to keep an eye on for the future as United continue to replenish their defensive options.
Gemma Evans- A veteran Welsh international and WSL player, spending the last few years at Bristol City and Reading. Evans is likely an option to start in case of emergencies, with Maya Le Tissier and Millie Turner the preferred center back pairing.
However, as a left footed center back, Evans has potential as a tactical rotating option, and her years of experience make her a very reliable option for cup competitions and games with a rotated side.
Gabby George- A veteran of the WSL like Evans, George arrives from Everton after nearly a decade with the Toffees. She offers much needed depth at left back for United, who have leaned heavily on Hannah Blundell since her arrival from Chelsea.
George offers an alternative for rotation, and will likely be a much more reliable option in the position than the departing Maria Thorisdottir was.
Emma Watson- Another young player full of promise, Watson arrives after taking on a big role with Rangers and the Scottish national team last season. Unfortunately, Watson suffered a torn ACL injury in preseason, confirmed by Manchester United on Wednesday, and will likely miss the entire 2023/24 campaign.
Irene Guerrero- One of several experienced additions to the United first team, Spain international Irene arrives at United from Atletico Madrid. She’s played for Liga Femenin clubs Real Betis and Levante before her move to the capital city last season, and now makes the move to Manchester with hopes of becoming a regular in the midfield.
United have been looking for more stability in midfield, and really since their promotion to the FA WSL they’ve lacked the control in big games to really hold onto a spot near the top of the table. That changed somewhat last year with the successful pairing of Hayley Ladd and Katie Zelem at the base, but big four matchups, and notable key losses to Chelsea, once again showed the weakness of the position against the best of the best.
Everyone knows by now that Marc Skinner has his favorites, and players arriving haven’t always been able to break through immediately, but Irene arrives in a position that needs competition for places. She could get her chance to show her value in an evolving side.
Hinata Miyazawa- Probably the most high profile arrival this summer after a stellar FIFA World Cup with Japan, Miyazawa arrives from MyNavi Sendai on the back of a World Cup Golden Boot showing in Australia and New Zealand.
A midfielder by trade, Miyazawa’s presence going forward made her an asset to Japan’s World Cup run, and helped make her side one of the most entertaining in the tournament before their exit to Sweden in the quarterfinals.
Miyazawa’s versatility means she can perform in multiple roles for United, and hopefully the positional rigidity seen in Marc Skinner’s teams won’t be too much of a restriction for one of the most talented players United have ever signed.
Olivia Francis- Another young signing, Francis arrives from Welsh club Pontypridd United. She’s a product of the FAW Academy, and at 17 years old is unlikely to make an immediate impact, but could be one for the future at United.
Francis was captain of the Wales U-17 side, scoring 12 goals in 22 appearances, and making four appearances in their UEFA U-17 Women’s European Championship run. She’s a very promising prospect, and one who hopefully continues their development in the United youth setup.
Geyse- One of the high profile arrivals this summer, and certainly the player who will have the most attention in their debut season.
Geyse comes in to replace Alessia Russo, an incredibly popular, well, once incredibly popular player at Leigh Sports Village before making the move to Arsenal this summer on a free transfer. United reportedly came in late last season with an offer to beat out Arsenal’s contract offer, but by then Russo had already made her decision to leave.
Geyse now takes over Russo’s position and squad number 23 with lofty expectations. She arrives with over 100 goals in her young career for both club and country. She arrives from FC Barcelona after one year with the Blaugrana, helping the side win a Liga F and UEFA Women’s Champions League double. She scored 10 goals in all competitions, including four in the Champions League, but will certainly be more of a primary goal scorer at Manchester United.
Hopefully with the cast of creators around her she can pick up where the previous star scorer left off and help United continue their push to be on of the top women’s clubs in Europe.