Mary Earps will be staying at Manchester United for the time being with the club refusing to sell in this transfer window, but this is not the end of the speculation surrounding the England goalkeeper’s future.
Last month, United turned down a world-record offer for a goalkeeper in the women’s game from Arsenal for the England No 1. United are refusing to sell even though Earps will be out of contract next summer.
Sky Sports News understands United have a challenge to convince her to commit her longer-term future to the club.
So, what happens next? Can United find a way to convince the Lionesses goalkeeper to stay? Does she leave in January or on a free next summer? Will it be to Arsenal or to another interested club?
Sky Sports News reporter Anton Toloui answers the key questions on Earps’ future…
Why does Earps want to leave Man Utd?
Negotiations have been ongoing for at least a year over a new contract and progress hasn’t been made.
She is the world’s best goalkeeper and wants to be paid like it and be put on a pedestal and be seen as a senior figure not just at the club but in the league.
There’s also the Manchester United project.
Alessia Russo has gone, Ona Batlle has gone, so she’s probably taking time to think: can Geyse Da Silva Ferreira and the new players come in and make a big impact? Are Manchester United going to be second, third, fourth this season and are they going to win big trophies?
Could Earps leave in January?
Man Utd have turned down big money previously in the window and any team who wanted to sign Earps had to not just break but smash the world record for a women’s player.
They are backing themselves to convince Earps that Manchester United is the place to be, that the new players are going to settle and United are taking steps forward, not back. But they’re missing two of their players – it’s a lot of pressure on Geyse, Hinata Miyazawa, Irene Guerrero and the new players to come in, gel quickly and challenge Chelsea.
How United start the season is going to be crucial to what happens to Earps next.
If United falter in their title challenge early – you only play 22 games in WSL so if you fall behind early, it’s difficult to come back and mount a title challenge – then United will want to avoid the situation of Alessia Russo where they turned down big money for her and then lost her to rivals Arsenal on a free.
Who could replace Earps?
Man Utd want to bring in a senior goalkeeper anyway and they have looked at goalkeepers that could be a No 1. They’re not daft, they know Mary Earps could leave next season so they are looking at senior goalkeepers with experience.
The player they want is Phallon Tullis-Joyce from OL Reign, who has done really well over the last of seasons. They’re spending around £100,000 on her so they clearly think she is a real talent and worth spending money on.
She’s going to come in and compete for the No 1 this season and then has a great chance of becoming No 1 next season if Mary Earps does move on?
Why do Arsenal want Earps?
She’s the best goalkeeper in the world, it fits the remit of what Arsenal are trying to do in making big signings and then bring in young players to develop.
Manuela Zinsberger signed a new deal last year but her contract is up at the end of the season. So they’re looking two or three years down the line. They know that she’s the best out there so why not get her? And it makes their rivals a little bit weaker as well which is always a bit of fun I suppose.
If players like Earps are available, then clubs like Arsenal will sniff around. But losing Champions League football has made a big impact on Arsenal, they have looked at bringing in players in other areas as they already have a good player in Zinsberger in goal.
Is anyone else interested in Earps?
Lots of clubs are interested. We know earlier in the window a bid came in for her for a lot of money but United turned it down. We know Arsenal’s interest has been recurrent in the window.
Other clubs are bidding. They know that if they want to sign Earps, they will have to put in a big contract offer so they don’t want to put a lot of money into a fee.
You can expect a lot of big clubs to come in next summer for Earps if she is available on a free.
WSL begins on October 1
The WSL starts on Sunday October 1 with six matches, including reigning champions Chelsea vs Tottenham live on Sky Sports at 5.30pm.
Some WSL sides have already begun their pre-season training, with England players expected to return to their respective squads in the next couple of weeks, before then regrouping for the Nations League.
After the Lionesses’ European Championship win last year there were record-breaking ticket sales across the WSL, with many hoping this summer’s World Cup campaign, where they reached the final, will bring even more eyes to the league.
How to follow on Sky Sports’ digital platforms
Follow all the latest from the Women’s Super League across SkySports.com and app, including exclusive features and interviews, plus dedicated live blog coverage and in-game clips from games live on Sky Sports.
You can also watch free match highlights from every WSL game this season on Sky Sports’ digital platforms and YouTube channel, while all matches will continue to be shown on both Sky Sports Football, as well as on Sky Showcase, available in all Sky homes, even without a Sky Sports package, giving the competition greater visibility.
Alongside coverage and visibility for the league across all Sky Sports’ main social media channels, the bespoke Twitter channel @SkySportsWSL will continue to be the home of all Barclays FA WSL content on Sky Sports.
The Sky Sports WSL TikTok account gives fans 360° coverage of the league and granting them exclusive access to their new favourite players. Through fun challenges and interviews, along with behind-the-scenes footage, viewers will get to know the WSL’s array of personalities and see the sport from a new set of angles.
Meanwhile, fans can also keep up to date with everything on and off the pitch with the return of Three Players and a Podcast, hosted by Caroline Barker.
Key dates for the 2023/24 season
- Barclays Women’s Super League opening weekend: Sunday October 1
- Barclays Women’s Championship opening weekend: August 26 – August 27
- FA Women’s Continental League Cup final: March 30/31
- Barclays Women’s Championship final weekend: Sunday April 28
- Vitality Women’s FA Cup final: May 11/12
- Barclays Women’s Super League final weekend: Sunday May 18