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 stage the Red Devils had been leading the race for European football but a few lacklustre performances near the end of the season cost them dearly.
As the new season nears, United have been made a number of additions to bolster their squad, including some experienced WSL campaigners and talented overseas stars.
France defender Aissatou Tounkara is the latest to sign for Skinner’s side. The 27-year-old joins on a two-year deal from Atletico Madrid.
Tounkara has made 35 appearances for France and helped Les Bleus reach the semi-finals of Euro 2022.
But Tounkara is not the only name of note to join United in this transfer window.
GiveMeSport Women assesses the Red Devils’ business so far and considers whether they can be European contenders this year.
United have made seven signings this summer so far and while some of these include youngsters for the future, there are plenty of additions that have caught the eye.
Full-back Maya Le Tissier has joined from Brighton and looks destined to be an England star one day.
The 20-year-old already has four years worth of WSL experience and will slot straight into Skinner’s side.
Adrianna Leon is another with WSL pedigree and while her goal record is perhaps underwhelming, she is extremely talented on the ball.
United’s most high-profile signing is no doubt Nikita Parris. The Lionesses star is one of the WSL’s all-time leading scorers and arrives from Arsenal, having fallen out of favour in North London.
The signing of Parris may prove to be a risk but she undoubtedly has the talent to bounce back from a disappointing campaign by her own high standards.
There had been talk of United losing star striker Alessia Russo, but it seems the England hero is staying put for now.
Russo has one year left on her current deal and will be able to leave the club on a free next year as it stands.
Luckily, Ella Toone won’t be going anywhere. The attacking midfielder signed a new contract last November that will keep her at the club until June 2025.
The most notable departure for United is Denmark’s Signe Bruun, who has returned to Lyon after a loan spell.
Bruun is a talented forward, yet she managed just five league appearances for the Red Devils.
Who is competing with United?
United face competition with the likes of Spurs, who finished fifth last year and have made massive improvements in recent years.
Skinner’s side will play Tottenham on the opening weekend on September 10th and it will be interesting to see how many new faces the United boss chooses to use straight away.
However, even if they better Spurs this year, United will likely have to finish above one of Arsenal, Chelsea or Man City to stand a chance of qualifying for Europe.
All three teams appear to have better depth on paper, yet United should not count themselves out.
The team were desperately close to European football last year and they look likely to be even closer this time around.