Arsenal make world-record offer for Manchester United’s Alessia Russo

Arsenal have tabled a world-record bid for the Manchester United and England forward Alessia Russo. The fee is believed to be more than Barcelona paid Manchester City when they broke the existing women’s transfer record last summer with their recruitment of the England midfielder Keira Walsh for about £400,000.

Russo, who scored four goals for the Lionesses at last summer’s Euros, including an audacious backheel against Sweden in the semi-final, is out of contract at the end of the season. United are likely to reject the offer even though they risk losing her for free with no agreement reached after talks with the 23-year-old over an extension.

Related: Arsenal need a world-class striker to fill the gap left by Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema

Arsenal are without the Euro 2022 golden boot winner, Beth Mead, and the WSL’s record goalscorer, Vivianne Miedema, for the rest of the season because of ACL injuries and the manager, Jonas Eidevall, has said: “I would be disappointed if we can’t bring in a prolific goalscorer in addition to the signings already. That should be a really important priority for us in this window with the number and the level of games we are playing.”

United are top of the WSL, level on points with second-place Chelsea and three clear of Arsenal, who have a game in hand.

In the FA Cup Arsenal, the 14-times winners, will play away to Chelsea, the holders, in the fifth round. United were drawn at home to the Championship side Durham and other notable ties include second-tier Lewes hosting the WPL Premier Division South side Cardiff City, the only team outside the top two divisions left in the competition. Coventry United, bottom of the Championship without a win, travel to Brighton.