For a variety of reasons, all has been quiet on the transfer front in the Eternal City. With the club itself in the midst of being sold and the contractual/professional status of female footballers in Italy still up in the air (despite legislation advancing their cause), I'm not sure we should have expected Roma to make any moves this winter, but, in an oh so Roma twist, an ACL injury forced their hands.
With versatile defender Federica Di Criscio sidelined for the remainder of the season following surgery to repair a torn ACL, Roma (if nothing else) had an empty spot on the roster to fill, and they acted quickly, signing a talented and experienced veteran.
What was rumored earlier in the week was confirmed several hours ago when the club officially unveiled their newest signing, Petronella Ekroth, a 30-year-old Swedish central defender. Ekroth, who joins from Stockholm club Djugarden, has over a decade of top flight experience, including 12 appearances in Juventus’ league and cup double last season.
In her first public statement as a Roma player, Ekroth spoke about her decision to move to Roma, her expectations for the season and what she brings to the club.
I heard so many great things about the club, about the players and the staff, that I immediately had a good feeling about it. That is why I wanted to come here.
On her expectations and what she brings to the table:
I want to help the team improve and I hope that we can finish higher in the league than we did last year – because winning the league and the cup, as I did last season, is really a special feeling. That has to be our aim, I hope that we are able to play to the maximum of our ability.
Naturally as a team I hope that we are able to reach the top of the table, or at least manage to qualify for the Champions League. I love to win, so that always has to be the aim
I am a player that likes to have the ball at her feet, I want to be involved in starting the attacking moves and I try to play well off both feet. I’m good in the air as well, but in general I’m a very physical player.
While Ekroth won't replace Di Criscio's versatility (she played center back, full back and even midfield), her championship pedigree, familiarity with the league and, most importantly, ability on the ball should add extra juice to the Giallorosse's attack. For all the praise we heap upon the midfield and forwards, the back-line, solid though it might be defensively, hasn't been terribly involved in build-up play this season, so if Ekroth is accurate in her self-assessment, she might be just what the doctor ordered.
Ekroth should be available for this Sunday's match against Bari, but it remains to be seen if Betty Bavagnoli will make use of her newest player straight away. Nevertheless, bringing Ekroth aboard for the second half of the season (and hopefully beyond) could be a boon to Roma's fight for a Champions League place.
Stay tuned for our match preview later this week.