MARC SKINNER insists Manchester United have shown “a huge statement of intent” by defying Arsenal’s attempts to sign Alessia Russo.
The Red Devils boss, 39, promised supporters the club will do all they can to try and seal a new deal with the England ace.
Skinner was sharing his reflections following a dramatic transfer deadline day on Tuesday for United’s WSL side.
The club are reported to have a rejected a second world-record bid from the Gunners to sign Russo following an earlier offer from their rivals.
Arsenal are thought to have made a bid of around £500,000 before the 5:00 pm deadline for domestic transfers.
The WSL star, 23, whose current Red Devils contract is due to expire this summer, has been among the club’s standout performers this term.
The Man United forward, whose team play Everton on Sunday, has netted five times in nine top-flight this term.
When asked how crucial it would be to see Russo extend her United career beyond this summer, Skinner said: “It would be huge for us.
“I love Alessia’s qualities and what she adds to our group.
“We’re building and helping these players progress.
“We’re trying to build them and give them the platform of being really top, top players and why would we want to stop that?
“We are one of the, if not the biggest, club in the world.
“For us it’s about keeping that momentum and we’ve got a lot of work to do.
“But just because we keep Alessia, for example, in this window doesn’t mean that we are given any rights.
“We’ve got to work, we’ve got to earn that and we’ll keep doing so.
“But it’s a huge statement for us to say to her, ‘we value you, I value you and we want to build around you going forwards’
“I’m going to try everything in our power to do so.
“She has a real love for this club and we have a real love for her.
“She’s exactly someone that we are looking to keep here.
“She wants to win here and I just reiterated that she and I have always had this relationship where it’s business on the field.
“We’ll work towards her being a better player and this club being a better team.”
United are currently in pole position in the WSL ahead of Chelsea on goal difference.
And while his players trounced the Toffees 3-0 away from home last October, they will host a fifth-placed Everton side who have won their last three league games.
Results for Brian Sorensen’s side, who have Man City starlet Jess Park on loan, include victories against Tottenham, Reading and West Ham in December and January.
Skinner added: “We have a tough opponent on Sunday. Brian is an ultra-competitive person.
“His team are really dangerous. We have to be really at our game this weekend in order to win.”