Concern growing at Manchester City Women’s side with perceived lack of proactivity seen as reason for high-profile departures such as Lucy Bronze and Nikita Parris
- High-profile departures at Manchester City Women has led to serious concern
- City have been the standard bearers in growing professionalism in the game
- Star players Lucy Bronze and Nikita Parris have moved on in recent times
- Both players are currently excelling for England at the France World Cup
Simmering concern has arisen at Manchester City Women following a string of high-profile departures.
City have been the standard bearers in growing professionalism within the Women’s Super League but first-team sources are questioning the direction in which the club is currently headed.
There is discontent that a perceived lack of proactivity within the hierarchy, led by Gavin Makel, has contributed to important players leaving for nothing over the past two years.
Lucy Bronze, a Ballon d’Or candidate, was one of several big names to leave Manchester City
That has led to fears about the potential for Nick Cushing’s side – who won the WSL in 2016 and have finished in the top two for each of the last four years – falling behind their rivals.
‘Arsenal and Chelsea are becoming stronger and Manchester United will be a force next season,’ one source said. ‘If you’re standing still then you just go backwards.’ Lucy Bronze, shortlisted for the Ballon d’Or, moved to Lyon on a free transfer in 2017 and was later joined by Izzy Christiansen before forward Nikita Parris departed for the south of France this summer.
Highly-rated Nikita Parris also walked out on City in order to join Europe’s top team Lyon
Parris and Bronze are thriving at the World Cup as England gear up to meet Norway in Thursday’s quarter-final. Christiansen recently recovered from a broken leg but missed out on a place in Phil Neville’s squad.
While Lyon holds both financial and professional allure, sources maintain club officials could and should have done more to retain their players.
Two of their back four, Jen Beattie and Abbie McManus, left on free transfers before the World Cup. Beattie re-signed for Arsenal, while McManus switched to Manchester United across town.
In response, City cited their adherence to the league salary cap, with a maximum of 40 per cent of projected turnover ring-fenced for wages.
City have however pointed to the arrival England striker Ellen White as a sign of progress
They also pointed towards the capture of England striker Ellen White to replace Parris and expect more new faces to arrive.
The emergence of Georgia Stanway, and her subsequent new three-year contract, is seen as proof that an emphasis on developing young talent is working.
There are those that are fearful of giving up ground to other top clubs, however. There is also intrigue as to how active the club will be in offering a contract extension to 22-year-old England midfielder Keira Walsh, who is entering the final season of her current deal.