Manchester United to lose four regular starters- sources

Manchester United are on the brink of losing four regular vital starters for free this summer, sources have told ESPN, with Mary Earps set to depart along with captain Katie Zelem, Lucía García and Nikita Parris.

ESPN previously reported that all four were questioning their futures with the club, but recent developments indicate the quartet may depart this summer.

Parris joined United from Arsenal two seasons ago and struggled to break into the starting XI initially. However, she became one of United’s most valuable assets last season, leading the club’s goal-scoring charge in the Women’s Super League (WSL) with eight goals in 21 appearances.

Parris turned down a move to NWSL side NC Courage ahead of the Women’s FA Cup final, but the former Lioness remained on the bench until the 58th minute. It is understood that Parris is set to leave the club this summer and may revisit her move to the NWSL.

Similarly to Parris, Garcia was commonly called off the bench in her first season, but in the most recent campaign, she proved to be one of Skinner’s critical threats, using her pace and drive to foil WSL opponents. After heavy interest from clubs in Mexico, Garcia is poised to leave the club and sign for Liga MX champions Monterrey, sources confirmed.

Zelem is also out of contract and, as ESPN previously stated, has been exploring her options away from the club. It appears that Zelem is leaning towards a move away from the club, yet sources said a final decision has yet to be made.

ESPN revealed on Tuesday that England goalkeeper Earps, one of United’s most high-profile players, is poised to leave the club despite lengthy contract extension talks. Sources revealed that Earps is close to joining Paris Saint-Germain on a free this summer.

Earps was previously linked with a world-record move to WSL rivals Arsenal last summer, but United declined to sell. Earps’ story is very similar to that of former United player Alessia Russo. Earps’ England compatriot was also offered a large contract with Arsenal but after United were able to retain the striker, she joined the club on a free last summer.

At the same time, Skinner lost key fullback Ona Batlle to Barcelona on free agency. The pair were part of the 17 exits last season.

The club secured the signature of crucial centre-back Maya Le Tissier on a four-year deal in May. Leah Galton and Hannah Blundell also signed new two-year deals last season.

United have had a difficult week. On Monday, Ineos chairman, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, stated that plans for the women’s team were still to be confirmed.

“We haven’t got into that level of detail with the women’s team yet,” he told Bloomberg.

“We’ve been pretty much focused on how we resolve the first team issues, and that’s been pretty full-time for the first six months.”

When asked if the plans were to be confirmed, Ratcliffe responded, “Correct.”

On Tuesday, it was revealed that the women’s team will be moved into a temporary building to allow the men’s team priority access to the £10 million facilities that were built last season for the women and academy’s use whilst the men’s building undergoes a £50m renovation.

United finished the season in fifth place, their lowest finish since gaining promotion to the WSL in 2019. They ended 20 points behind champions Chelsea and were out of the running for the title by February.

The club will be looking to rebuild next season and correct their poor performances; however, potentially without four of their key players and a lack of direction over the club’s future, Skinner, who signed a new one-year deal ahead of their final day 6-0 loss to Chelsea, may struggle to attract new players.