This offseason has been a busy one for Manchester United Women. United have seen seven players depart as well as their head coach. However, they have also brought in five players and announced a new head coach.
Two more departures
Lauren James and Abbie McManus have left Manchester United Women making them the sixth and seventh departures of the off-season. In addition to James and McManus, Jess Sigsworth, Jane Ross, Christen Press, Tobin Heath, and Amy Turner have all left the club. James has signed with Chelsea, a move that had been rumored for some time. She has been with the Red Devils since 2018. In 56 appearances, James scored 28 goals. The move to Chelsea saw Hannah Blundell go the opposite way to United. Chelsea signed James to a four-year deal.
McManus joined United in 2019 but was loaned to Tottenham in January of the 2021 season. The defender made 25 appearances for United. McManus has joined Leicester City in what will be their first season in the WSL.
Five players joining United
Vilde Bøe Risa, midfielder, was United’s first summer signing from IL Sandviken. She signed until the 2022/2023 season with the option for another year. Outside of Norway, she has played professionally in Sweden. The Norwegian has made 37 appearances for her country.
Blundell came over from Chelsea as part of the deal that saw James head to the London club. Blundell had been with Chelsea since her youth career, she began playing for the first team in 2013. In total, she appeared 98 times for the back-to-back WSL winners. The full-back signed with United until the 2022/2023 season with the option for another year.
Sophie Baggaley signed from Bristol City after playing there for the past four seasons. She joins a strong United goalkeeper pool of Mary Earps, Emily Ramsey, and Fran Bentley. Baggaley has represented England at the youth levels. She has also signed until the 2022/2023 season with the option for another year.
Aoife Mannion, defender, has signed with United after being with their rivals Manchester City for two seasons. Unfortunately, Mannion only made 11 appearances for City because she was out for 16 months with an ACL tear. Mannion was first called into England camp in August of 2019 but then tore her ACL in October.
Martha Thomas, a Scottish striker, has also signed with the Red Devils. Her last two seasons have been spent with West Ham United. Thomas has taken the number 9 shirt (and position) after Jess Sigsworth left the club. Her contract like the others lasts until the 2022/2023 season with an option of another year.
From Stoney to Skinner
Marc Skinner stepped down from his head coaching position with the Orlando Pride on July 23rd. On July 29th Skinner was announced as the United head coach. He, like the players who recently signed, was given a two-year deal with the option of another year. Skinner will be returning to the WSL having managed Birmingham City before moving to Orlando. In Skinner’s first season with the Pride, the team earned 16 points in 24 games. So far in 2021, they have picked up 16 points in 12 games.
Casey Stoney stepped down as Manchester United Women’s Coach in May and was appointed head coach of the NWSL’s newest organization in San Diego.
At the beginning of the summer, Manchester was losing a lot of personnel, but things have turned around in the past week. So far this summer United has lost five attackers and two defenders. They have signed a good mix of players with one goalkeeper, two defenders, one midfielder, and one striker. It will be interesting to see how Skinner readjusts to the WSL. He started off very slowly in Orlando, but their seven-game unbeaten streak to start 2021 was a team-best. United will kick off the 2021/2022 WSL against Reading FC on September 5th.