Manchester City Women are taking huge strides towards becoming a truly unstoppable force in 2020/21 as they bid to not only win a first Women’s Super League title since 2016, but also conquer Europe and claim a first ever Women’s Champions League triumph.
Their plan to topple Chelsea at home and Lyon abroad? Sign the best players in the world, with USWNT midfielder Sam Mewis the latest to agree to move to the Etihad Campus and her World Cup winning teammate Rose Lavelle considering an offer to do the same.
The Athletic reports that Mewis has signed a one-year contract to join City from NWSL club North Carolina Courage, who now have no games scheduled for the rest of 2020. With the NWSL a summer league, the 27-year-old could play the 2020/21 campaign in England before potentially returning to the United States next year – all with no formal transfer fee involved.
Standing at six feet tall, Mewis personifies the power and athleticism that is typical of American players, characteristics which have always put the USWNT among the world’s elite and which ultimately drove their victories at both the 2015 and 2019 World Cups.
Mewis was a key part of the American team at the latter tournament, starting all but one of the six games en-route to glory and scoring twice in the 13-0 annihilation of Thailand.
Mewis’ arrival at City is yet to be formally announced, but with a deal agreed and signed it should only be a matter of time. Not only is it a massive coup for City, it is huge news for the profile of the WSL that one of the best overseas players in the world should choose a club in England.
Where it was once thought that American players were discouraged from heading abroad under the leadership of former USWNT coach Jill Ellis, who has been publicly bashed by forward Sydney Leroux Dwyer this week, new boss Vlatko Andonovski is happy to consider players based worldwide.
Bigger still is the prospect of City also signing Lavelle, who won the Bronze Ball at last summer’s World Cup for her impressive performances. The 25-year-old has not yet agreed to move to Manchester but the offer is reported to have been made and she is considering it.
Reigning champions Chelsea might have been considered favourites to retain the WSL title next season. The Blues have been incredibly consistent over the last few years and have already strengthened themselves in the shape of international calibre midfielders Melanie Leupolz and Jessie Fleming and emerging domestic forward Niamh Charles.
But City’s business with Mewis, and potentially Lavelle to follow, in addition to three other deals that have also been done, now blows that out of the water.
It was already a close battle between the two clubs, with City actually top of the league when the WSL season was abandoned and the 2019/20 title awarded to Chelsea on points per game, owing to their game in hand. The pair had recently put on the best game in WSL history.
It should also not be ignored that City have already done other business to strengthen a squad that had genuine title credentials anyway. England forward Chloe Kelly, the WSL’s breakout star over the last year, has joined following her recent departure from Everton.
Other transfers lined up expect to see Lucy Bronze return to the club from Lyon in tandem with fellow Lionesses full-back Alex Greenwood. The only players deemed better than Lavelle at last summer’s World Cup were Bronze and Megan Rapinoe, while Bronze also finished second to Rapinoe in the 2019 Ballon d’Or standings. She left City a domestic star in 2017 and will return a world-beater.
Both players are already thought to have agreed their respective terms with City and the double transfer will become official on 1 September when they leave Lyon, having each signed a temporary contract extension in France to cover the delayed Champions League season.
Elsewhere in the City squad, experienced campaigner Jill Scott has signed a new contract, talented youngsters Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp will be a year older and wiser, defender Aiofe Mannion will be returning from injury after missing most of her debut season, while England star Ellen White will be hoping for a full season injury free after a delayed start last year.
Pauline Bremer’s goals are a loss following her return to Germany, but that is arguably offset by Kelly’s arrival. Belgian forward Tessa Wullaert, who scored five times in all competitions in 2019/20, is the only other departure from the club as things stand.
It all promises to leave City with a much stronger squad next season and it will be down to the rest in England and across Europe to see if they can handle them.