The worst-kept secret on the winter transfer market took another (and possibly final) step toward reality today, with Il Tempo's Alessandro Austini reporting that Roma has won the race for Ola Solbaken. A 24-year-old winger/forward, Solbakken has compiled one goal and four assists for Bodø/Glimt in 650 league minutes this season. A natural lefty who can play practically anywhere along the frontline, Solbakken impressed the Roma brass when he torched the Giallorossi with three goals in two group-stage matches in last season's Europa Conference League.
While Solbakken hasn't compiled eye-popping numbers during his time with Bodø, with 12 goals and six assists in all competitions last season, he garnered interest from several European clubs, including Roma's bitter southern rivals, Napoli, who were also keen to sign the impending free-agent come January.
However, according to Il Tempo, Roma has beaten Napoli to the punch:
Roma, arriva Solbakken. Per Zaniolo si tratta il rinnovo #asroma #calciomercato #bodoglimt #iltempoquotidiano https://t.co/RKGjzXSmyf pic.twitter.com/kzxknoLhqk— IL TEMPO (@tempoweb) October 16, 2022
With Solbakken visiting the city last July to get a feel for life in Rome, it seemed like a matter of when and not if he'd sign with the Giallorossi. Still, Roma's hopes were nearly dashed when Solbakken returned to the peninsula two weeks later for an appointment at Villa Stuart, where he met with Napoli's directors to discuss a possible move to the Stadio Diego Maradonna.
However, according to Austini's report, Roma has won the Solbakken sweepstakes and will sign the Norwegian forward through the 2026-2027 season, a significant investment even without the burden of a transfer fee. With Roma's attack struggling on multiple fronts, Solbakken could play a substantial role for José Mourinho early in his Roma tenure, so we should know relatively quickly whether or not this cost-saving move pays dividends on the pitch.
We'll provide updates as they become available, but what do we think: Is Solbakken the proverbial missing piece?