Manchester City Women have made a huge statement in their attempts to wrestle the WSL title away from Chelsea next season by agreeing deals to sign England international full-backs Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood from French giants Lyon.
Bronze left City for Lyon in 2017 and is looking to win her third successive Women’s Champions League title with the French side when the competition resumes in August. Greenwood, meanwhile, made the move to France last year after a season as Manchester United captain.
Bronze left England as an emerging superstar and has firmly become one of the best players in the world in the three years since. She has been named BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year twice since 2018, was awarded the Silver Ball as the second best player at the 2019 World Cup, finished second in the 2019 Ballon d’Or and was also second in The Guardian’s top 100 in the world for 2019.
The Daily Telegraph explains that both players have agreed terms with City to move to the Etihad Campus next season. Everton forward Chloe Kelly is also close to securing a transfer, although the report notes that compensation still has to be agreed with the Toffees.
22-year-old Kelly is among the brightest young attacking players in the WSL and is coming off the back of breakout season for Everton in which she netted nine times in 11 league games. She was also named in the 23-player England squad for the 2020 SheBelieves Cup in early March.
Despite Kelly’s transfer to City being the furthest of the three from completion it could end up being announced first. That is because the return of Bronze and the arrival of Greenwood aren’t expected to be announced before the end of their season with Lyon, the Telegraph explains.
Both players have just this week signed temporary contract extensions with the French side that will run until 31 August, covering the remainder of the 2019/20 Champions League season.
The Champions League, which has now been reduced to a mini-tournament in the Basque region of Spain, won’t resume until 21 August and the final will be on 30 August, assuming Lyon get there.
The flip side of that for City is that neither Bronze nor Greenwood may not actually join them until just a week before the start of the 2020/21 WSL season, which is due to begin in early September.
It isn’t the ideal preparation, especially with manager Gareth Taylor new to the job and reigning champions Chelsea a force to be reckoned with after already strengthening. But having two established internationals and a rapidly emerging young talent join an already excellent squad is equally an enormous statement of intent in east Manchester.