Why Arsenal and Man Utd are both keen to recruit Stina Blackstenius

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Manchester United are now facing a loss against WSL rival Arsenal for the signature of Swedish forward Stina Blackstenius on the transfer market this month.

Blackstenius, who is considered one of Europe’s leading strikers, is currently a free agent after signing his contract with the Swedish club BK Hacken at the end of December.

The 25-year-old has long been expected to choose WSL as her next destination, having spoken brilliantly about the English league before and highlighted the speed and physicality as a good fit for her own style of play.

But even though a switch to Manchester United seemed almost certain just a week ago, the situation seems to have changed and Arsenal are in place. BBC Sport, which had previously been convinced that United would secure a deal, has now branded the Gunners as “favorites” instead.

There is an obvious reason why both clubs are hungry for Blackstenius. The Swede is a proven goal scorer at the highest level, having played in the Champions League for Hacken this season and won two Olympic silver and one World Cup bronze.

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United are in need of additional attacking firepower, after seeing five strikers resign last summer and only bring in one in the form of a replacement.

Blackstenius would be a guaranteed rookie in a team with lots of potential but still lacking one or two players of the highest quality in their attempts to challenge for silverware next season and beyond.

But Arsenal, while having significantly more competition for attacking places, can offer her action at the highest level already. Should she choose the Gunners, which now looks more likely, she would stay in the Champions League this season and have a great chance at domestic silver.

The Gunners, despite an excellent squad, have also recently shown the need for depth. Vivianne Miedema has had to rest on several occasions already this season and the fight for trophies on several fronts into 2022 will not reduce the demands on the existing players.

Both clubs want Blackstenius, but it looks more and more like one and not the other will succeed.

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