The January transfer market is always tricky to navigate for clubs like Roma. There’s always a need for added reinforcements, but not many clubs are keen to sell, which drives prices up. And for Roma, which is usually working on a limited budget, the dynamics of supply and demand are seldom favorable. This time around, however, the Giallorossi have nabbed an interesting profile on a free transfer.
Thanks to the Norwegian Eliteserien ending in November, players from that league have contracts ending during the winter transfer market rather than summer, as we see with most European-based players. There, in the thick of a busy calendar that sees Roma competing on three fronts, Tiago Pinto was able to land a player the club’s been linked to for quite some time. Enter Ola Solbakken.
| Ola Solbakken— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) November 23, 2022
We are delighted to confirm an agreement has been reached that will see the forward officially join the club in January.
In the meantime, the search for missing children around the world continues.
#ASRoma | @ICMEC_official pic.twitter.com/X8jsEHX49w
Solbakken’s name should ring a bell for a couple of reasons. For one, the Giallorossi were heavily linked to the 24-year-old Norwegian this summer—along with rivals Napoli, who were rumored to have his signature. Secondly, Solbakken tortured Roma defenders during last season’s UEFA Conference League to the tune of three goals in three matches against Jose Mourinho’s men while playing for Bodø/Glimt.
Those performances certainly caught the eye of Pinto, who ultimately decided to make signing Solbakken one of his top priorities. The signing certainly adds more options to an attack that has struggled to score despite creating a high number of chances. In last season's Conference League, Solbakken averaged 0.53 goals per 90 minutes, and he’s coming off a four-goal, six-assist domestic campaign in just over 1,000 minutes in 2022.
Solbakken has predominately played on the wing in his time with Bodø, so it’ll be interesting to see how Mourinho integrates him into Roma’s current 3-5-2. He could be used in an attacking wing-back role similar to Nicola Zalewski or moved more centrally. Otherwise, could we see a move to Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 where he plays a true role?
Only time will tell, but at the very least, Solbakken is an intriguing profile that gives Mourinho another option to get Roma’s attack firing.
Solbakken, who will wear the number 18 for Roma, opened up on his path to Rome, saying:
“I have been pushing for this, I really wanted to be a Roma player - and finally I can say that I am,“ Solbakken said.
“Roma stood out to me from the start - I really believe in the prospects and the plans for the club and I wanted to be a part of that.
“I am coming here to learn and improve but I also want to show what I am capable of. The Roma fans are the best I have come across and I cannot wait to be playing on their side.”
Solbakken, 24-years-old, has signed with the Giallorossi through 2027 and will officially join his new teammates on January 2, 2023.