Is Marc Skinner’s team a candidate for the Champions League this season?
Manchester United Women have been busy in the transfer market this summer, but are these new additions enough to help them secure Champions League football this season?
United finished fourth in the Women’s Super League earlier this year — five points behind rivals Manchester City in third.
At one point the Red Devils had led the race in European football, but a few lackluster performances towards the end of the season cost them dearly.
Heading into the new season, United have made a number of additions to bolster their squad, including experienced WSL campaigners and talented overseas stars.
French defender Aissatou Tounkara is the latest to sign for Skinner’s side. The 27-year-old joins Atletico Madrid on a two-year deal.
Tounkara made 35 appearances for France and helped Les Bleus reach the semi-finals of Euro 2022.
But Tounkara is not the only notable name to join United in this transfer window.
GiveMeSport Woman assesses the Redi Devils’ activities so far and wonders if they can be European suitors this year.
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Who arrived ?
United have made seven signings this summer so far and while some of them include youngsters for the future, there have been plenty of additions that have caught the eye.
Full-back Maya Le Tissier has joined Brighton and looks set to become an England star one day.
The 20-year-old already has four years of WSL experience and will fit right in alongside Skinner.
Adrianna Leon is another with a WSL pedigree and while her goalscoring record may be disappointing, she is extremely talented on the ball.
United’s most high-profile signing is undoubtedly Nikita Parris. The Lionesses star is one of the WSL’s all-time top scorers and arrives from Arsenal, after falling out of favor in north London.
Signing Parris may prove to be a risk, but she undoubtedly has the knack to bounce back from a disappointing campaign by her own high standards.
Welcome, @Aissatou75! 👋
– Manchester United Women (@ManUtdWomen) August 10, 2022
Who is left?
There had been talk of losing United star striker Alessia Russo but it looks like the England hero is staying put for now.
Russo has one year left on his current contract and will be able to leave the club for free next year as things stand.
Luckily, Ella Toone isn’t going anywhere. The attacking midfielder signed a new contract last November which will keep her at the club until June 2025.
The most notable departure for United is Denmark’s Signe Bruun, who returned to Lyon after a loan spell.
Bruun is a talented striker, but she managed just five league appearances for the Red Devils.
Who competes with United?
United face competition from Spurs, who finished fifth last year and have made huge progress in recent years.
Skinner’s side take on Tottenham on the opening weekend on September 10 and it will be interesting to see how many new faces the United boss chooses to use immediately.
However, even if they do better than Spurs this year, United will likely need to finish above Arsenal, Chelsea or Man City to have a chance of qualifying for Europe.
All three teams appear to have better depth on paper, but United are unlikely to count each other.
The team was desperately close to European football last year and they should be even closer this time around.
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