Manchester City have re-signed former defender Lucy Bronze, following her departure from Champions League winners Lyon.
The England star returns to the Women’s Super League after playing in France since 2017, where she won three consecutive league and Champions League titles.
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Bronze announced last month she would be leaving the French champions after the expiry of her contract, having agreed a short-term extension to play the conclusion of their Champions League campaign.
She's back! 💙 pic.twitter.com/kPKKhxx2QT
Reflecting on her move, Bronze told Sky Sports News: “I’m excited to be back at City, it’s like I never left. Loads of things have changed but everything seems the same.
“It seemed like the right time now, rather than wait too long and end up having to retire.
“I have been speaking with City for the past six months about the possibility and there wouldn’t really be any other team I want to play for in England.
“I want to be back in the country to help the England team be more successful. There’s not really a better place to do that than at City.
“I know the place, I know the style – although the manager has changed – it is still a manager from within the City philosophy.”
Bronze hungry for more trophies
Prior to leaving for Lyon, Bronze spent three years at City and was part of their WSL title-winning side in 2016, as well as lifting the Continental Cup the same year and the Women’s FA Cup in 2017.
The club have won two more domestic cup titles in Bronze’s absence but have finished second in the WSL for the last three seasons, including being replaced at the top by Chelsea on points-per-game after the 2019-20 campaign was cut short due to coronavirus.
“After being at Lyon, it would be silly of me to come to any club and not want to still win trophies,” Bronze said.
“Success in the Champions League is a huge one, it’s what every English team is now striving for.
“I can say that, on a personal level, I have done that but I want to bring that back to England.
“I want to push on the younger players and help them become winners and better players.”
‘England is the place to be right now’
The 28-year-old, who predominately plays as a right-back, but has also been used in a central midfield role by England, has been nominated for the women’s Ballon D’or award for the last two seasons and finished second behind USA’s Megan Rapinoe in 2019.
Bronze is the latest in a series of high-profile names to sign for a WSL side this summer, following the arrivals of the USA’s World Cup winning-midfielders Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis at City.
Before Thursday’s transfer deadline in the WSL, Manchester United are also expected to sign two of the USA’s World Cup winning-side from 2019 by bringing in Tobin Heath and Christen Press.
Chelsea have already splashed out to bring in forward Pernille Harder from Wolfsburg for a fee in excess of £250,000, described by Wolfsburg Women’s sporting director as “a record transfer fee in women’s football”.
Elsewhere, Wales midfielder Jess Fishlock (Reading), Scotland forward Claire Emslie (Everton) and England international Rachel Daly (West Ham) have all moved to England’s top division.
“The way the WSL has changed massively over the past year, even this summer with the signings that have happened,” Bronze said.
“I’d spoken a lot with City, so I knew a bit about Rose Lavelle and Sam Mewis. A lot of quality has been added to the team, It just seemed like the right fit.
“The place to be right now is definitely playing in England.”
Bonner: Bronze brings a winning mentality
Fellow City defender Gemma Bonner, who played with Bronze at Liverpool before moving to Manchester in 2018, is excited to be reunited with her former team-mate and says any team in the world would be happy to have her.
Bonner told Sky Sports News: “Everybody knows that she is a winner. She’ll bring that mentality. She is an unbelievable player and does everything she possibly can to help her do well and everybody around her as well.
“She’ll be an unbelievable addition to our team. If you ask any team in the world, they would love to have her.
“We’re really excited to have her back and it’s only going to make us stronger.”
Bronze named in England’s 30-player training camp
Bronze will be one of the most experienced players to join up with Phil Neville’s England squad for a training camp later this month, as they build towards the 2023 World Cup.
Her new City team-mate Esme Morgan is one of seven players to earn their first senior call-up, alongside Lotte Wubben-Moy, Millie Turner, Ella Toone, Niamh Charles, Katie Zelem and Rinsola Babajide.
Due to quarantine restrictions, overseas players such as Jodie Taylor and Nikita Parris (both at Lyon) have been omitted.
The Lionesses, who are meeting up for the first time since March, will convene on September 15 for a seven-day camp, including an 11-a-side training game behind closed doors on September 18.
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