Arsenal have submitted a world record bid for Manchester United and England striker Alessia Russo, the PA news agency understands.
The 23-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and United have so far been unsuccessful in securing her services beyond the summer.
It is understood Russo could fetch over the £350,000-£400,000 fee initially thought to have been paid by Barcelona to sign England midfielder Keira Walsh from Manchester City in September.
That number was later called into question when Barcelona women’s general manager Markel Zubizarreta told Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo the club paid under 350,000 Euros (£310,000) for the midfielder, without revealing the exact amount.
Regardless, Russo looks set to command an eye-watering sum in the women’s game, where transfer figures are rarely disclosed, after drawing plenty of interest both domestically and overseas.
Russo, who has netted five goals across nine Women’s Super League appearances for United this season, could be an ideal solution for Arsenal boss Jonas Eidevall, who has lost forwards Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema to ACL injuries.
United currently lead the WSL, level on points with defending champions Chelsea, while Arsenal sit third with 25 but have a game in hand.
Russo scored four times to help England win Euro 2022, including a memorable back-heel in the semi-final victory over Sweden that earned her a nomination for the FIFA Puskas Award for goal of the year.
A world record deal for Russo would mark another milestone in what has already been an historic transfer window in the WSL, with Bethany England reportedly commanding the highest-ever fee between two WSL clubs when she moved from Chelsea to Tottenham earlier this month.
While United head coach Marc Skinner welcomed women receiving increasingly large compensation packages for their talent, he previously warned that record transfer fees could also serve to widen the gap between clubs with and without resources.
“I think fortunately or unfortunately, yes, it’s whichever way you look at it for the game and for the growth of the players, and for the infrastructure and the product for the fans to watch,” he said.
“Yes, it’s going to be a positive, but obviously when that happens there’s more expense that comes into it. You know, the clubs that can afford it can continue to grow, the clubs that can’t will have to find a different way.”
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