Ona Batlle returns to Barcelona on free transfer after Manchester United contract renewal offer arrives too late

Ona Batlle Manchester United Women 2022-23
Ona Batlle has returned to Barcelona on a three-year deal, with a contract offer from Manchester United arriving too late to keep her in England.
  • Defender returning to her roots
  • Enjoyed successful stint in England
  • Moving on as a free agent

WHAT HAPPENED? The 24-year-old defender was presented with fresh terms by the Red Devils, but the decision had already been made by that point to return to her roots in Catalunya as a free agent, according to The Athletic.

WHAT THEY SAID?: Batlle has told Barcelona’s official website: “It has always been my dream to be in the Barca first team. It’s true that I left, but I did it with the mindset that I could come back. I’m really looking forward to and excited to share the dressing room and experiences with the players I’ll be with. For me, Barca has always been in my heart and it’s not easy to say no. From the first moment I have had it in mind. I have a lot more experience than when I left. I’ve been travelling, even to England, where I’ve been very happy but I’m very happy to be able to come back and continue my career here.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Batlle is a product of Barca’s academy system, but left them to join Madrid CFF in 2017 and had been on United’s books since completing a switch from Levante in 2020. She was named United’s Player of the Year during her debut campaign in Manchester, while helping them to qualify for the Champions League last season, but will now be linking up with the reigning European champions and Liga F title holders on a three-year deal.

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Ona Batlle Manchester United Women 2022-23

WHAT NEXT? Batlle – who has been named in Spain’s provisional squad for the 2023 Women’s World Cup - has become the first player to sever ties with United this summer, with England star Alessia Russo set to follow her through the exits after revealing that she will not be signing a new contract either.