Former Levante defender Ona Batlle has today been confirmed as Manchester United’s second signing of the summer transfer window.
Batlle is seen as one of the brightest prospects in world football and is thought to have being courted by a number of prestigious sides from across Europe, however, it is Manchester United who have won the race for the signature for the Catalan full-back. She becomes the first-ever Spaniard to compete for the United professional women’s team.
The defender had long been rumoured to be making the move to the Barclays FA Women’s Super League and she has now agreed a two-year deal with The Red Devils with the option to extend for a further year according to reports on the club’s official website.
A product of Barcelona’s world-renowned youth academy, Batlle made the shift to Madrid CFF in 2017 where she spent one season in Spain’s capital city before moving to Levante. Despite only just having turned 21 this summer, Batlle was an integral figure throughout Levante’s latest season and was a crucial part in them achieving third place, behind only Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.
Batlle predominantly plays at right-back but has the capability to play anywhere along the back four, mainly being utilised as a left-back for the national team. Although she wasn’t called up to the Spanish squad for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, Batlle did feature twice in the SheBelieves Cup during impressive displays against Japan and USA.
“It’s an honour and a pleasure to sign for Manchester United; to work with Casey and be a part of this team is a fantastic opportunity” Batlle said in her first interview with the club. “To have the chance to come over to play in England and really push myself as a player is very exciting. I can’t wait to meet my new team-mates and help to contribute to as much success as I can.”
The news comes in the wake of Manchester United announcing last week that Lucy Staniforth would also be plying her trade at Leigh Sports Village next season.
The procurement of Batlle’s services for the upcoming season and beyond demonstrates, if it was ever in doubt, Stoney’s faith in youth and willingness to build a squad for the not too distant future. It’s unlikely that Batlle will be a world-beater in her first season in English football and an adjustment period will probably be required but if given the time to grow as a player, she could one day become one of the best defenders in the world.