National Womens Soccer League

4 potential destinations for Lucy Bronze after Barcelona exit

4 potential destinations for Lucy Bronze after Barcelona exit

4 potential destinations for Lucy Bronze after Barcelona exit

England defender Lucy Bronze will be one of the most high-profile players in the women’s game to move clubs this summer.

After two seasons with Barcelona, the 32-year-old did not agree a new contract to continue into a third with the European champions. The club announced her departure last week and the player later shared a heartfelt message on Instagram highlighting her pride for being part of their history.

She had a trophy-laden couple of years with the Catalan giants, securing a further two Champions League titles to add to her tally of three from her time in France with Lyon. Bronze also helped Barcelona to two league titles, one Copa de la Reina and two domestic Super Cups.

With another era of Bronze’s illustrious career coming to a close to make way for a new one, 90min takes a look at where the England international could end up next…

Chelsea

Soon after Barcelona confirmed Bronze's departure, the rumour mill started spinning. The Guardian reported last week that Chelsea have emerged as strong contenders to sign the player, with discussions having already taken place.

Another report, this time from ESPN, claims Chelsea are the club leading the race as a return to the WSL for Bronze, formerly of Manchester City and Liverpool, edges ever closer. Despite plenty of interest from elsewhere, the west London club are said to have presented a large offer that has swayed her to join. However, confirmation of a move is yet to arrive at this stage.

Chelsea themselves begin a new era this summer under Sonia Bompastor, who has taken over from the departing Emma Hayes. The former Lyon boss will be tasked with maintaining the Blues' status as England's leading club, as well as break new ground in the Champions League.

As things stand, Chelsea already have France international Eve Perisset operating at right-back, while versatile Ashley Lawrence was also utilised at points last season. When playing a back three under Hayes, Johanna Rytting Kaneryd was even used as the wing-back in that particular formation.

Should an expected return to the WSL not materialise, the likeliest destination is the United States and the NWSL. Strong links with Bronze have emerged once again, with ESPN reporting last week that clubs in the league are interested in signing the defender on a free transfer.

Reports dating back to 2022 suggest Kansas City Current hold Bronze’s NWSL discovery rights, meaning she would have to sign with them, or another club in the league would need to buy the rights before being able to sign her.

Bronze was first linked with the NWSL in 2022 when it was confirmed she would be leaving Manchester City. A report from the Telegraph at the time stated the player wants to experience playing in the United States, having previously attended the prestigious University of North Carolina, and her most likely destination would be a club on the west coast.

In the end, it was Barcelona who secured Bronze and it remains to be seen whether her ambition to play across the Atlantic is revived, although that seems unlikely at this stage given the stong links to Chelsea. Should a west coast move still be the player's preference that could put the likes of Angel City, San Diego Wave, Bay FC and the Portland Thorns in the driving seat.

Wolfsburg

Should Bronze wish to test herself in a new league, a switch to the Frauen-Bundesliga would be the most likely option given she has already played in England, France and Spain. Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg would be the two to battle for her signature if that were to be the case and both represent interesting prospects.

Bayern are currently the team on the up in Germany, having just won the league without losing a game. However, Wolfsburg have a far richer history in the Champions League and played in the final of the competition against Barcelona just a year ago.

Wolfsburg’s status as Germany’s most successful club and previous suggestions they have the biggest budget could give them the edge if they were to pursue a move.

Despite having already played in France for Lyon, a move to Paris Saint-Germain could also be a plausible option for Bronze. 90min reported last month that the French side were among the clubs monitoring her situation at Barcelona in case she were to move on, which she now has.

It is understood PSG initiated contact with Bronze's camp to understand her demands and what a deal would look like. However, whether they act on this interest now her exit has been confirmed and Chelsea now lead the race, remains to be seen.

The stern competition for Bronze's signature could prove to be a stumbling block for PSG, although they confirmed the signing of England teammate Mary Earps on a free transfer from Manchester United on Monday. The signing of the Lionesses star represents a major coup for PSG and indicates there is certainly plenty of pulling power at the club.

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