If you've been following our coverage of the women's team over the past few weeks, you've no doubt noticed a theme; our complete (and innocent) lack of insight into how the transfer system works in Serie A Femminile. Thanks to a host of issues we've discussed intermittently—their semi-professional status, the rumored salary cap and the complete lack of coverage—we've sort of hesitated making guesses as to who Roma would pursue, how much they could spend, what markets they'd tap etc.
But throw all that out the window, because this just happened.
We will see each other very soon at Stadio Tre Fontane, because from next season I will have the great honour of wearing the Roma colours, I am sure you will show your support for us, we’re hoping to see a lot of you next season. Forza Roma!
That's Manuela Giugliano, a 21-year-old midfielder and star of Italy's World Cup run, reporting from Isola Beach off Italy's heel confirming what we've been crossing our fingers for the past few weeks—she's signing with Roma.
Although she's just shy of 22-years-old, Giugliano brings a wealth of experience to Roma. Since turning pro at all of 16-years-old, Giugliano has been a mainstay in Serie A, logging over 1,700 minutes in four of her past five seasons. And while she's nominally known as a play maker, she's bagged 31 goals over the past four seasons, including double digit campaigns for Atalanta and Verona between 2016 and 2018.
While Giugliano served as AC Milan's #10, she took on a decidedly different role for Milena Bertolini's Italy side this summer. With Cristiana Girelli handling the playmaking duties in the hole of a 4-3-1-2, and with Valentina Cernoia and Aurora Galli bombing forward, Giugliano was left at the rearguard, dictating the pace and location of play from deep, splitting opposing defenses with long balls (see below), and tracking back to help snuff out attacks. In a word, she was a machine, and Italy would have been lost without her back there.
It remains to be seen how Betty Bavagnoli will deploy her, but pairing her with Roma's resident wunderkind, Giada Greggi, herself only 19-years-old, gives the Giallorosse two incredibly young, incredibly versatile and incredibly talented midfielders, each capable of playing advanced and withdrawn roles, each capable of busting up attacks and creating scoring chances, and each willing to do the dirty work.
What's more, adding Giugliano to the likes of Greggi, Annamaria Serturini, Agnese Bonfantini and Camilla Labate gives Roma a handful of Italy’s best U23 players, with Giugliano standing clearly atop that impressive heap.
If Giugliano were a statuesque number nine or a blazing fast winger, the impact of this move would be more apparent, but trust me when I tell you that Roma just pulled off a game changing move, like a Batigol-level move. Giugliano is exactly what Roma's midfield was missing last season: someone who can keep the ball moving, someone who can pick out a pass from virtually anywhere, and someone who will end Roma's reliance on wing-oriented play, making Bavagnoli's attack more efficient and effective in the process.
And if that is still somewhat ambiguous, let me just say this: Roma signed one of the best midfielders in the world.
The season can't start soon enough.