Manchester United attacker Lauren James hit the headlines again yesterday with the player having been linked with a move to Chelsea this summer, according to reports in the Mail Online.
The 19-year-old former Arsenal apprentice has been linked with a move away from the The Leigh Sports Village before with European heavyweights Lyon said to be interested in acquiring her services last summer.
The French giants are again being linked with the player 12 months on but it is Chelsea who are rumoured to be set to lead the chase for James.
Should the speculation be correct, how likely are Manchester United going to permit James a move to Chelsea should she wish to leave the club? FA Women’s Super League Full-Time have considered the potential for a move from the North West to South West London for James and here are three reasons why we think a deal would not happen.
Selling to Chelsea would be domestic suicide
With Manchester United on course to finish their first full Barclays FA Women’s Super League season in fourth place, the club will very much be hoping to look up rather than down next season.
United aren’t just in the top flight to battle for European qualification, The Red Devils want to be mixing with those clubs at the very top of the table. Forward James will only get better and selling the player to a Barclays FA Women’s Super League title rival would be a suicidal move, one which would hand an advantage to a key opponent.
It is very rare to see one top player in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League switch from a top club to another and given the player’s age and United’s ambitions, an internal move would surely not happen.
Losing a player of James’ class would do United no favours in the quest for UEFA Women’s Champions League football
United want European football, that is the next step and there is no denying that fact. The new UEFA Women’s Champions League format and increased prize money will just make the club crave European football even more.
To qualify for Europe and to be successful in Europe, clubs need their top players and losing James would leave United with a big gap to fill. Where will The Red Devils want to be in five years? I’d expect that they will see themselves as regulars in the last eight or maybe last four of the UEFA Women’s Champions League. If you look at the likes of Chelsea, Lyon, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona to name just a few, these clubs are not selling clubs, they are progressive buying clubs.
For United to qualify for Europe and then be competitive, they need to build on solid foundations and improve the standard of the team around their quality players. Letting James go would be detrimental to their push into the European spotlight. Surely United will battle to hold onto their top stars then look to be as competitive as possible in the transfer market themselves.
James has unfinished business at The Leigh Sports Village
With one Barclays FA Women’s Super League season curtailed due to COVID-19 and another hit with injury, James is yet to show the United faithful what she can do in the Barclays FA Women’s Super League over the course of a full season.
Of course she is a great talent and of course she has had many bright points but the player will feel that she can do even more if she has the opportunity to shine in an uninterrupted top flight season.
James has so much scope for further achievement at United. She could yet guide the club to a first domestic cup, a first European qualification or even a first league title. Will she want to repay manager Casey Stoney for the faith put in her during the last three years and help guide the club to new levels?
The forward will be hoping to impress in a United shirt again in their final three fixtures as they complete their Barclays FA Women’s Super League campaign and look to progress in the Vitality Women’s FA Cup.