Lucy Bronze unlikely to sign new Barcelona contract

Lucy Bronze of FC Barcelona looks on during a match
Lucy Bronze of FC Barcelona looks on during the UEFA Women's Champions League quarter-final vs AS Roma at Spotify Camp Nou (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Lucy Bronze is unlikely to sign a new contract with FC Barcelona, according to recent reports in Spanish media. The defender’s current deal is due to expire this summer.

The 2022/23 season saw the Lioness win the Champions League for the fourth time, as well as the Spanish domestic league and the Supercopa de España. Barcelona have triumphed in every game of the 23/24 season so far. Yet despite the important role that Bronze has played, a new contract appears to be far away. 

Dwindling chances of another year at Barcelona

In recent years, the Catalonian side have been plagued with financial troubles. Bronze is one of the club’s highest paid female players, so any renewal would be a significant outlay. With the contract renewals of Alexia Putellas and Mariona Caldentey being the current priorities, Bronze’s hefty paycheck may rule her out of another year in the Blaugrana.

Moreover, the side have already locked down continuity in their backline. Of the six existing defenders, the club has contracted four through the 24/25 season. The fifth — former Spain captain Marta Torrejón — has reportedly been offered a one year extension on her contract. 

Admittedly, the recent meniscus injury of María León and the prior sidelining of Irene Paredes, Jana Fernández and Fridolina Rolfö have narrowed Barca’s defensive options as of late. However, each of them is expected to return to play prior to the start of the new campaign. Defensive midfielders Ingrid Engen and Patri Guijarro, who have been filling in the gaps, are also tenured to the club through the 24/25 season. 

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Injuries and competition

Bronze has made more than 25 appearances for Barcelona. However, her stint with the Spanish side hasn’t been without tribulations. A serious knee injury has been continually aggravated throughout her career. Her most recent surgery in April of 2023 saw her sidelined for weeks. Bronze has repeatedly stated that she will continue to play football as long as her knee will let her. While the 32-year-old shows few signs of slowing down on the pitch, the recurring injury would surely be cause for concern moving forward.

More pertinently, young competition poses a threat to her starting spot. Bronze’s preferred position of right-back is also the favourite role of Spanish international and former Barca youth player Ona Batlle. 

At 24, Batlle could be a long-term option for the club. The former Manchester United player moved to Barcelona at the start of the season. Born and raised in the nearby Vilassar de Mar, her homecoming has seen her slot seamlessly into the first team. She still has two more seasons left on her initial contract. 

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Having played every game in Spain’s triumphant 2023 World Cup campaign, Batlle has proven she is world-class in the position. Moreover, she offers the side a more cost-effective option than Bronze.

In short, all signs point to Bronze’s departure. Capped 118 times for England, she is widely regarded as one of the best female players of all time. There will be no shortage of clubs with an interest in the defender, but the field narrows considerably when budgets come into play.

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