Mary Earps reveals reason for Man United exit ahead of ‘transition period’

Mary Earps of Manchester United looks dejected during a Women's Super League match.
Mary Earps reacts during the Barclays Women's Super League match between Manchester City and Manchester United on March 23, 2024. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Manchester United have officially announced the departure of Mary Earps following the expiration of her contract. The Lionesses goalkeeper will be available to sign for another club this summer as a free agent.

Earps is now another influential player to leave Man United, following Lucía García and captain Katie Zelem out the door. The 31-year-old released a statement on social media, addressing her decision not to extend her stay with the Red Devils.

“Dear the United family, after five years of service to your great club, I have decided that it’s time for a new challenge,” she wrote on Instagram. “It’s a decision I’ve gone backwards and forwards on for some time, and is not one I’ve made lightly. The club is about to undergo a period of transition, and unfortunately I don’t feel it aligns with the timing of where I’m at in my career. Therefore, I think now is the right time to make a change and embark on a new challenge.”

Having long been linked with Women’s Super League rivals Arsenal — including rumours of a record breaking bid following the World Cup — the most likely destination now seems to be Paris Saint-Germain, according to recent reports.

Earps joined Man United for their first season in the WSL in 2019 from VfL Wolfsburg. She went on to make 125 appearances in all competitions as United quickly established themselves in the top flight.

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In the 2022/23 season, United qualified for the Champions League for the first time and reached their first FA Cup final, where they narrowly lost to Chelsea. That form also saw Earps secure the WSL Golden Glove, as she kept 14 clean sheets.

Internationally, Earps has blossomed under the management of Sarina Wiegman. She was a key part of the Euro 2022-winning side and the team that reached the World Cup final. A host of individual accolades followed, including being named as the FIFA Best Goalkeeper in 2022 and 2023. She also picked up the 2023 World Cup Golden Glove.

Man United future plans ‘TBC’

Last season was much tougher for Marc Skinner’s side. United finished fifth in the league but did secure their first major trophy as lifted the FA Cup. However, the future is unclear as new club co-owner Jim Ratcliffe admitted plans for the women’s team remain ‘TBC’.

The INEOS chief and the club came under fire following the news that United’s men’s team will be moved into the women’s training building while a £50 million upgrade on their own facilities is carried out. Skinner’s side have been placed in temporary ‘portable buildings’ to accommodate the men’s team. The renovation is expected to last for the duration of the 2024/25 season.

When asked if Man United were looking for outside investors during an interview with Bloomberg, Ratcliffe replied: “We haven’t really got into that level of detail with the women’s football team yet. We’ve been pretty much focused on how do we resolve the first team issues, certainly in that environment. That’s been pretty full-time for the first six months.” He then confirmed it was ‘correct’ that plans for the women are ‘TBC’.

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