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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Ella Toone posts major Alessia Russo transfer hint as Man Utd respond to Arsenal bid

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Alessia Russo could be on the move on transfer deadline day after Arsenal submitted a world record bid for the Man Utd forward.

Russo, 23, helped England win the European Championship last summer and has continued her good form in the first half of the WSL season, helping United go top of the table. But Arsenal are keen are bringing the striker down to London and, as first reported in The Athletic, have made a late play to secure her signature.

United have yet to agree a new deal with Russo, whose contract expires at the end of the season meaning she could leave without a transfer fee next summer. The Red Devils have reportedly rejected the bid, but negotiations are set to continue on deadline day.

In the latest twist of the saga, Russo’s close friend and United teammate Ella Toone posted a potential hint that the deal may be imminent on social media on Monday night. On Instagram Toone posted a photo of herself and Russo celebrating after England’s win over Germany in the final of Euro 2022.

Alongside the shot, she wrote the caption: “19:32. A picture speaks a thousand words and this one will forever hold a special memory.” Toone later deleted the post, but not before fans spotted it and were joining the dots and speculating that Russo’s potential move to Arsenal was on.

Russo hasn’t publicly stated she wants to leave United, but has yet to sign a new contract at the club she joined in 2020. The WSL leaders risk losing Russo for free in the summer if they block her joining Arsenal, but the departure of their star striker, without any time to sign a replacement, would be a major blow to their title challenge.

The exact transfer fee offered by Arsenal is currently unknown but reports suggest it would exceed the £400,000 Barcelona paid Man City for Russo’s Lionesses teammate Keira Walsh last September. The deadline for transfers between domestic clubs in the WSL is 5pm on Tuesday afternoon, meaning Arsenal will have to respond quickly if they want the deal to go through. Russo was an unused substitute in Man Utd’s 2-1 FA Cup win at Sunderland on Sunday.

Jonas Eidevall confirmed earlier in the transfer window he wanted to bring in a fresh forward after the Gunners lost both Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema to long-term ACL injuries before Christmas. In addition to Russo, Arsenal are also still being linked with a move for Lyon’s Danish striker Signe Bruun.

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