Unfinished business and a fear of missing out on a star-studded WSL were the factors that convinced England international Lucy Bronze to return to Manchester City, writes Andy Baber.
The 28-year-old re-signed with the Citizens after a trophy-laden three-year spell in France with Lyon, which concluded with her third Champions League winners' medal.
Bronze previously spent three years with City between 2014 and 2017, helping the club win the Barclays FA Women’s Super League title, Continental Tyres Cup and FA Women’s Cup.
But with a slew of high-profile internationals coming to England, Bronze admitted that the pull to return home was too strong – with City the only destination in her mind.
“Early on in the year I'd already thought about coming home and if I was coming back to England it was only ever going to be City,” said the Lionesses full-back.
“So, I didn't really entertain any other conversations. The only other place I would have gone was obviously just to stay at Lyon, so it was kind of just between the two, to be honest.
“Although there was other interest, I just said that I don't want to speak to you.”
Asked whether she has unfinished business at City, she added: “I guess so, I mean I won all the domestic trophies with City, we reached the semi-finals of the Champions League also.
“But I want to get the club to the final of the Champions League, I want to win more silverware, so I want to push the team on, push the young kids on and just improve the team in general.”
Bronze, who boasts 81 caps for the Lionesses, also revealed how her burning desire to help the national side was another motivating factor behind her return to City.
With Phil Neville due to make way for incoming England boss Sarina Wiegman in September 2021, Bronze wanted to be around more for what will be a busy couple of years.
“Coming home was to help the England squad as well, especially with everything that's going down now, we're changing managers and there's so many competitions coming up,” she said.
“It just feels right to be in England to help the team, to be there for important things. Being abroad, as much as I'm in the England squad, there were days that you miss.
“You're turning up to camp late and you have to leave early or you're not really involved in watching a lot of things going on.
“So I think with where I am in my career now it's really important that I came back to England with all these big important competitions coming up.”
Bronze is not the only star signing to arrive in the WSL this summer, with World Cup-winning United States midfielders Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle joining her at City.
Lyon teammate Alex Greenwood has also returned home while rivals Manchester United have signed two-time World Cup-winning United States duo Tobin Heath and Christen Press.
And Bronze acknowledges that it would have been tough to watch the WSL from the outside looking in again had she not moved – insisting it is now the place to be.
“I think I've had that [fear of missing out] every year anyway, even from the day I left,” she said. “Playing abroad as an English player you kind of get forgotten about by everybody in England.
“Probably ask any of the girls playing abroad and they'll feel that way. But it's just kind of fallen in place for me at the right time now, to come to the WSL.
“I'm feeling very fortunate to move back now. And I definitely would have been a bit sad if I had missed out on this WSL season when there's so many stars and so many different teams.
“It's getting more competitive. I say it every year but the English league has gone from strength to strength and it's only going to get better.”
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