Manchester United confirmed today via their official website that goalkeeper Aurora Mikalsen will be departing the club when her contract expires at the end of this month.
Mikalsen was brought in at the start of the 2019/2020 season after Siobhan Chamberlain was ruled out due to her pregnancy and both Emily Ramsey and Fran Bentley both sustained long term injuries.
Mikalsen joined The Red Devils from Kolbotn IL in her native Norway and made just the one appearance for her new club in their 11-1 FA Women’s Continental League Cup victory over Leicester City.
This is the first piece of transfer activity at Manchester United so far this summer, however, with the club continually being linked with a number of new additions and manager Casey Stoney almost certainly looking to put pressure on the top three next season, it will definitely not be the last. Consequently, with many other teams announcing multiple departures, who else could potentially be set to leave United this summer?
Palmer has found her opportunities limited at Manchester United ever since the teenager moved from Bristol City. The England youth international hasn’t made a single appearance this season and was loaned out to Sheffield United during the first half of the campaign, only to be recalled as United saw their midfield numbers depleted.
During that brief loan spell with The Blades, Palmer racked up more appearances than in her entire Manchester United career thus far. Palmer impressed during her tenure at the South Yorkshire club, scoring six goals in 18 appearances from midfield and she could very well be looking for more first team football next season despite her young age.
Green seemed undroppable at times during United’s FA Women’s Championship-winning campaign last year but like her midfield counterpart Palmer, she has also spent a significant chunk of the current season on loan at Sheffield United. Green achieved a tally of 16 goals in all competitions last year yet she was only able to feature on two occasions for Casey Stoney’s side during the 2019/2020 campaign, both in the FA Women’s Continental League Cup.
Due to the early finish of the FA Women’s Championship season, Green could only make four appearances for Sheffield United but still managed to score two goals in that time. The player is coming up to her 23rd birthday therefore you’d imagine that she will be looking for regular football as she enters the prime years of her career. Whether she has done enough to force herself back into her manager’s long term plans remains to be seen but she will not be short of suitors if she and United part ways.
Another player who has found her game time greatly diminished this season compared to last season is Lizzie Arnot. The player has only made four substitute appearances in the league over the 2019/2020 campaign totalling just 88 minutes. Manchester United had a better defensive record than the likes of Arsenal at the early close of the season therefore logic suggests that the club’s priority will be to strengthen in attacking positions in the transfer window.
Players such as Arnot may be deemed surplus to requirements once new additions come in. The Scotland international has already etched her name into United folklore by scoring their first professional goal in a historic 1-0 win over arch rivals Liverpool and consequently, her leaving could prove unpopular with many fans not wanting to see her go.
Okvist has struggled to make the step up from second tier football in Sweden in the Elitettan with Hammarby IF to top tier football with Manchester United which has meant that players like Amy Turner and Martha Harris have had to fill in at left-back. United had only conceded two more goals than Chelsea and three more than Manchester City this season and those fine margins could be a huge difference if United are to compete for a UEFA Women’s Champions League place.
With proven FA Women’s Super League wide players like Poppy Pattinson and potentially, former Manchester United captain Alex Greenwood seemingly on the market, Okvist may need to make way as a fresh left-back is brought in.
For now, Manchester United fans will sit and eagerly wait to see how manager Stoney will build on her side ahead of the club’s second season in the top flight.