Lucy Bronze has been tipped to trade the WSL for the NWSL this summer as the England full-back considers leaving Manchester City and moving to the United States.
Bronze is in her second spell at City after returning to the club from Lyon in 2020. She won Best FIFA Women’s Player that year thanks to her successes with the French club and remains one of the world’s top players, despite spending the first half of the season recovering from knee surgery.
The 30-year-old already has an affinity with American soccer, having been recruited by the University of North Carolina in 2009 during her early breakthrough years at Sunderland – she became the first British player to win an NCAA women’s soccer championship.
Bronze is out of contract at Manchester City this summer, having signed a two-year deal on her return. The Daily Telegraph writes that she wants to experience the NWSL while still at her peak and would also prefer to move abroad than join a domestic rival out of respect to City.
Problems could arise, however, given the timing of Euro 2022. Bronze would potentially be unable to link up with an NWSL club until early August, comfortably inside the league’s transfer deadline, but well into the second half of the already ongoing 2022 season. The alternative is delaying a move until the 2023 season, but would require a short-term deal elsewhere in the interim to stay fit.
Her NWSL rights, despite having never previously played in the league, are also already owned by a club reported as Kansas City Current. Those rights, which are taken up under leagues rules as a ‘discovery list’ of overseas players, would need to be bought or traded by another club.
Bronze’s preference is thought to be the west coast of America. Teams in that part of the country include established NWSL heavyweights Portland Thorns and OL Reign in the Pacific north west, as well newer California-based expansion clubs Angel City and San Diego Wave.
Bronze’s former England teammate Eniola Aluko is sporting director at Angel City, the club famously co-owned by Natalie Portman and Serena Williams among others, while another ex-Lionesses colleague in Casey Stoney is currently head coach in San Diego.
Meanwhile, former Birmingham and Arsenal boss Laura Harvey, who has been based in the United States in various jobs since 2013, is in charge at Reign. The team is also owned by Bronze's former club Lyon following a 2019 takeover.
Manchester City have already seen Georgia Stanway opt to leave the club this summer in favour of Bayern Munich, with Caroline Weir heavily tipped to do similar and join Real Madrid.
The news of several departures also comes just as manager Gareth Taylor expressed hope of limiting the number of incoming and outgoing transfers at the club this summer.
- Georgia Stanway joins Bayern Munich
- Caroline Weir nearing Real Madrid switch
- Gareth Taylor hoping for minimal Man City transfer window turnover