The 2020-21 Serie A Femminile season kicks off in just a little over six weeks, so we’re hoping Roma confirm the squad soon enough. It’s unclear whether there’ll be a pre-season training program, and for how long let alone where it’ll take place, but getting all your pieces in place as soon as possible is always an advantage when gunning for that elusive top two league finish.
It’s understood among the media, however, that Roma aren’t looking for any wholesale changes to the current squad. That’s the first time we can say that since Roma became a club two summers ago.
That’ll likely be the same policy taken by champions Juventus, though fellow rivals Milan and Fiorentina are looking like they will revamp their sides heavily. Fiorentina’s decision to sign Italian international keeper Katja Schroffenegger AND Italian veteran goalscorer Daniela Sabatino should send waves rocking down in Rome.
Hopefully, Roma’s faith in their current squad is well-placed. So far the club have only announced official departures, while we’re left to speculate on rumoured replacements at goalkeeper, centre-half and up front.
Valentina Casaroli (Retired to U-13 Coaching)
Native to the capital city, Casaroli first came back to Roma at the club’s inception in the summer of 2018. That turned out to be a show of loyalty and yearning for home, more than anything else, as Casaroli played the role of second (and then third)-choice keeper to tee. She never saw any gametime beyond cup football in 2018-19, but she also never strayed from reinforcing the club spirit and team chemistry on the sidelines.
At just 26 years of age, Casaroli has already decided a career on the sidelines is her most stable path to making a real fist out of football. The former Roma, Napoli and Italy U-20 keeper has decided to hang up her gloves and go into coaching. For her lifelong ties to the capital, Casaroli had been rewarded with a spot as A.S. Roma’s U-13 coach.
Petronella Ekroth (Released)
We wondered whether Serie A winner and former Juventus defender Ekroth was just an emergency signing this past January, or if she had a long-term future in Rome. After all, her prowess in possession looked like it might solve a few problems in Betty Bavagnoli’s quest to take Roma to that next level.
However, it appears the former is true as Ekroth announced her official departure from Roma this week. She leaves after having made just 4 appearances and played 165 minutes for the club, though her departure defuses any potential ticking timebomb in the Roma dressing room after Ekroth held an unresolved beef with many of Roma star Manuela Giugliano’s Italy teammates from Ekroth’s final days at Juventus.
Eleonora Cunsolo (Released)
There was a time when Cunsolo was a marauding full-back, creating and scoring goals for her team at will. But that was at youth level, and now Cunsolo is turning 24 years old by the end of 2020. Roma bringing her into the fold as a youth looked ambitious, but the full-back has struggled to consistently make an impact on Serie A in her handful of appearances over two seasons.
That being said, she never lost her eye for a threaded ball through to the front line. I guess Cunsolo’s only crime was not looking like she was closing the gap in quality to Roma captain Elisa Bartoli anytime soon, but it’d be surprising if Cunsolo doesn’t find a Serie A club that believes in her as a starter by August.
Cunsolo’s farewell message to Rome was emotive to the core, opening up with the line: “You don’t always have to make a scene to make yourself heard, and that’s how I lived for you.”
Federico Di Criscio (to Napoli)
Di Criscio is the departure that will turn the most heads, as she’s been the first-choice defender to partner Alison Swaby in Roma’s rearguard for the club’s first two seasons, interrupted by an ACL injury picked up in 2019-20.
That defensive partnership was struck after Di Criscio agreed to move back from her natural position in midfield, so it may well be that the 27-year-old Italian international wants to go back to plying her trade in the engine room while time is still on Federica’s side. She will get the chance to do that just down the road at newly-promoted Serie A club Napoli, as Di Criscio’s signature for the Partenopei was confirmed just today.
Di Criscio leaves Roma having made 25 appearances in 2 seasons and scored 2 goals from the heart of defence.
Amalie Thestrup (Released)
We reported on Thestrup’s goodbye earlier this week, as the Danish international striker opens up a vacant spot on Roma’s bench. We asked, at the end of the 2020-21 season, whether being a 1-in-3 striker was enough for Thestrup to earn another season with the Giallorosse.
After all, the Dane’s relentless work to recover possession from the front was impressive to watch, and it was enough to earn her 9 starts (and 12 appearances) in just one season of Italian football.
But it turns out, like Martina Piemonte found out before Thestrup, that if you’re not scoring enough goals then you’re out of time.
Rumoured Transfers In
Rachele Baldi (from Empoli)
When this rumour first emerged last week, it was thought Baldi’s arrival would come at the expense of veteran Roma keeper Rosalia Pipitone. Casaroli’s retirement has since changed that thinking, but that doesn’t clear up whether Roma can really fulfil Baldi’s own ambitions.
Baldi’s been all around Tuscany, as one of Italy’s brightest prospects, keeping goal for Siena, Empoli (over two different spells) and Florentia in the last few years. She even won Empoli’s Player of the Year award (chosen as the leading candidate among both Empoli’s male and female squads) in her early twenties. Her resurgent form with Empoli this season has put Baldi in the Italy senior squad.
She’s now turning 26 years old and in need of a breakthrough to the pinnacle. Does she believe she can do that in the capital?
Only a few months ago, Baldi was openly talking about wanting to move to the higher leagues of Spain or France. So if Baldi really does sign for Roma, then you have to believe the Italian will be given a straight shot at ousting not just Pipitone from Rome’s bench, but Camelia Ceasar from the Giallorosse starting lineup.
Osinache Ohale (from Real Madrid)
In our close-season summary, we openly wished for Roma to make more signings from abroad - especially players used to playing in Spanish or French leagues - and Ohale’s rumoured arrival is exactly in that mould. This move is taking some time to materialise though, as Ohale already announced her departure from Spanish club CD Tacon in mid-June.
It’s well known that CD Tacon is about to become Real Madrid’s women’s team (indeed, the official change was announced earlier this week), so if Ohale waved goodbye to Florentino Perez’s bucks for a “new adventure” elsewhere, then she has to believe she can be a regular starter at her new suitors.
With her unquestionable aerial dominance at the 2019 World Cup with Nigeria, and ability to play both from centre-half and full-back, is Ohale going to be Alison Swaby’s new defensive partner in Rome?
Mrs. X Signing
Finally, even before Thestrup’s departure from Roma, the media have been speculating about Betty Bavagnoli wanting a new striker up front.
The “Miss X” speculation has yet to reach the point of naming names, but whoever it turns out to be (if it turns out to be anyone) will have her work cut out for her in displacing Thomas, Bonfantini and Serturini from Roma’s starting lineup.
We know it won’t be Daniela Sabatino, who’s been snapped up by Fiorentina. In a dream world, somehow Milan captain Valentina Giacinti shocks the Lombardy press by announcing she made horrible mistake pinning her loyalties to the Milan mast, then Giacinti turns up for training at the Tre Fontane in Rome, the very next day.
But since that’s unlikely to happen, we figure Florentia’s Melania Martinovic is worth bringing back to the capital. The striker was originally let go by Roma in the summer of 2018, as the club transformed from RES Roma to what is it today. In that time, Roman-born Martinovic has hit red-hot form in Serie A to score nearly a goal-a-game with Florentia, with 9 goals in 12 starts this past season.
One of those goals even came as Florentia defeated Roma 2-1 in Tuscany, which turned out to be a huge hand in Roma falling short of her European football ambitions. So why not bring Martinovic back home?