Manchester United now face losing out to WSL rivals Arsenal for the signature of Sweden forward Stina Blackstenius in the transfer market this month.
Blackstenius, who is considered one of Europe’s top strikers, is currently a free agent after coming to the end of her contract with Swedish club BK Hacken at the end of December.
The 25-year-old has long been expected to choose the WSL as her next destination, having spoken glowingly about the English league in the past and highlighting the speed and physicality as a good fit for her own style of play.
But while a switch to Manchester United looked a near certainty only a week ago, the situation appears to have changed and Arsenal are on the scene. BBC Sport, having previously been confident that United would secure a deal, has now labelled the Gunners as ‘favourites’ instead.
There is an obvious reason why both clubs are keen on Blackstenius. The Swede is a proven goalscorer at the highest level, having already played in the Champions League for Hacken this season and winning two Olympic silver medals and a World Cup bronze medal.
United are in need of additional attacking firepower, having seen five forwards depart last summer and bringing only one in by way of a replacement.
Blackstenius would be a guaranteed starter in a team with lots of potential but still lacking one or two top quality players in their bid to challenge for silverware next season and beyond.
But Arsenal, while having considerably more competition for attacking places, can offer her action at the highest level already. Should she choose the Gunners, which now looks more likely, she would stay in the Champions League this season and have a strong chance of domestic silverware.
The Gunners, despite an excellent squad, have also recently demonstrated the need for depth. Vivianne Miedema has been rested on several occasions already this season and the fight for trophies on multiple fronts into 2022 won’t lessen the demands on the existing players.
Both clubs want Blackstenius, but it increasingly looks like one and not the other will be successful.