Adriana Leon was the subject of late deadline day drama, ManchesterWorld can reveal.
The Manchester United Women’s star was the target of a January transfer approach from AC Milan and six Women’s Super League teams, with the Italian giants offering a large loan fee and a six-figure option to purchase the forward.
Milan were pursuing a loan swoop with an option to buy for a fee totalling £120,000.
The blockbuster deal was offered last week but Manchester United dragged their heels while trying to find a replacement for the Canadian superstar who has found minutes for the Red Devils few and far between.
ManchesterWorld understands that United officials finally accepted the bid but it was too late to register the player. In the Italian women’s league, deals generally need to be concluded 48 hours prior to the window closing in order to sign and then register the player.
Instead she was then offered to a host of Premier League clubs on a free loan. Six WSL teams jumped at the chance, with Tottenham Hotspur leading the chase.
The stumbling block came when the north London giants wanted an option to sign her permanently, but Manchester United’s valuation was far in excess of their budget. When the Red Devils finally dropped their price the deadline got the better of them and it became too late to register in the UK.
Leon, who sealed a move from West Ham to Manchester United on two-year contract last July, has made only five appearances in the top tier for the WSL leaders so far this term and needed minutes on the pitch ahead of the World Cup this summer.
The player, who helped her national team to a gold medal win at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, netted her first goal for the Red Devils during their 4-0 trouncing of Brighton in the top tier last October.
Leon, who became the first Canadian to join Man United’s Women’s Super League side, was an unused substitute in the Red Devils’ 2-1 defeat of Sunderland in the FA Cup on Sunday.
Her most recent WSL appearance was during United’s 6-0 home win against Liverpool when she came on in the 77th minute of the match at Leigh Park Village.