Aston Villa signs CanWNT FW Adriana Leon to two year deal ahead of 23/24 WSL season
Aston Villa have added a Canadian to their ranks ahead of the 2023-2024 WSL season, as they announced the signing of CanWNT forward Adriana Leon on Monday.
Signed to a two-year deal through 2025, it's a key move for Leon, who sticks in the WSL after a frustrating 2022-2023 campaign.
Adriana Leon: Villan 💫 pic.twitter.com/W7rXT7vVUf— Aston Villa Women (@AVWFCOfficial) September 11, 2023
Having made the big move to Manchester United last season from West Ham, the transfer didn't go to plan for Leon, who ended up spending most of the season on the bench.
Therefore, while it was a solid season for United as a team, as they finished second place in the league behind Chelsea, while also losing the final of the FA Cup to Chelsea, Leon featured just nine times across all competitions.
She still scored three goals, one in the league and two in the League Cup, but it was otherwise a season of frustration for the Canadian forward.
As a result, Leon was already seeking a move away from Manchester by last January, where she came close to moving to AC Milan on a loan deal that narrowly fell apart on deadline day.
Therefore, she instead went out on a short-term loan to the NWSL's Portland Timbers ahead of the 2023 World Cup, where she featured seven times as they looked to pick up some fitness ahead of representing the CanWNT in Australia.
Unfortunately, her plan didn't fully pay off for her - while she scored one of Canada's two goals at the World Cup, she was quite rusty, impacting her ability to influence the game in the final third as much as she usually could.
Becuase of that, the goal was clear for her as she returned to United for preseason, and that was to seek out a move where she could get the minutes she needed to find her form for both club and country again.
Turns out, that'd be Villa, who showed their faith in Leon by inking a two-year deal, as they'll bet on the 30-year-old being able to find her form again.
As they look to build off a season where they finished fifth in the league, they'll need Leon to be at her usual standard as they look to replicate or even better that showing.
Given that Leon has scored 10 goals across 48 WSL games, she can certainly chip in with timely goals as a winger, too, while also providing some chance creation and 1v1 dribbling ability.
From there, she'll look to refind her form with Canada, where she's been a key piece offensively under Bev Priestman, scoring 10 of her 29 career international goals since 2021 when Priestman was hired as CanWNT head coach.
Safe to say, this could be a big move for Leon, who will now look to hit the ground running with Villa when they kick off their WSL season on October 1st, against none other than Manchester United.
Before then, however, a big camp awaits her with Canada, who is getting set for a crucial two-legged Olympic qualifier against Jamaica later this month, where they'll look to qualify for their fifth straight Olympics, while also continuing their defence of their gold medal from the 2021 edition.
Because of that, no doubt that this could prove to be a crucial couple of weeks for the veteran Canadian, with this move hoping to be a potential catalyst in all of that, allowing her to leave a disappointing 2022-2023 season behind her.