A day after Tiago Pinto and the Giallorossi unveiled their marquee signing of Paulo Dybala, it was the Giallorosse's turn to take center stage as Head of Women's Football Betty Bavagnoli dropped her own bombshell. After weeks of speculation, Roma officially announced the capture of star striker Valentina Giacinti, who signed a three-year deal earlier today. While one signing won't swing the Scudetto race on its own, Roma just pulled off the closest thing possible to a perfect transfer.
Now, you may have to give me a moment to compose myself here...
My reaction if, a month from now, both Paulo Dybala and Valentina Giacinti are wearing Roma colors. pic.twitter.com/nIbIppyjiz— Chiesa di Totti (@chiesaditotti) May 30, 2022
Not since Roma signed Luca Toni way back in the winter of 2010 have I been this excited about a transfer (and yes, that includes Dybala). Despite my poorly hidden admiration for her skills, in terms of timing, talent, and tactical fit, Giacinti is the ideal signing for the Giallorosse.
Thanks to Paloma Lázaro banging home a career-high 10 goals last season, Roma didn't suffer for goals, but Giacinti is an entirely different animal altogether. A Bergamo native, the 28-year-old Giacinti is arguably the best goal scorer in all of Italy. A three-time capocannoniere, including back-to-back scoring titles in 2018 and 2019, Giacinti has scored a whopping 182 goals in 233 Serie A appearances.
A natural righty, Giacinti is part poacher, part shot-taker, and part shot-creator. Capable of worming her way into the tiniest crevices in the area, she should feast on through balls from Manuela Giugliano and Andressa. At the same time, her pace and agility will enable her to work in concert with Roma's speedy wingers, Annamaria Serturini and Benedetta Glionna. And if, by some miracle, those avenues are closed, Giacinti is crafty enough to dance around defenders, carving out space to create her own shot, and fast enough and strong enough to bully her way into the box.
Whether manager Alessandro Spugna sticks with the 4-3-3 that worked to such great effect last season or tinkers with a 3-4-1-2 or a 4-2-3-1, Giacinti's versatility and sheer skill will make Roma practically unstoppable. Let her lead the line and watch as she deftly slips past the final defender, latching onto a pinpoint pass from Giugliano to beat the keeper. And given her skill on the ball and ability to manipulate space, she can even channel her inner-Francesco Totti and serve as a false nine, pulling the defense off their low block as she springs Glionna and Serturini into the box. And she can even pair with Lázaro or Sophie Roman Haug in a two-striker system, abusing center-backs with her ability to score in tight spaces.
We tend to avoid wolf-based puns around here, but Giacinti, Lázaro, Serturini, Glionna, and Andressa will hunt in packs this season, feasting on defenses too disoriented to keep track of who has the ball, who's darting into the box and who's serving as a decoy.
So how did Roma sneak such an incredible signing under the radar?
After a terrific four-year run with Milan, one that ended bitterly as she fell out with head coach Maurizio Ganz, Giacinti spent the second half of last season with Fiorentina, scoring three goals in seven appearances. With the Viola falling down the pecking order and no possible route back to Milan, Roma and Giacinti became a match made in footballing heaven.
A point she spoke to in her introductory presser.
I chose to sign for Roma because the club is investing significantly in the women’s game and with each passing year they keep showing just how much they want to succeed... I’m encouraged, I have a good feeling and I cannot wait to start this new chapter of my football career.
My targets this season are to improve a lot and to do what I can to help Roma achieve the best possible results.
On her star signing, Bavagnoli was equally enthused:
We are absolutely delighted to be able to welcome Valentina, who immediately showed such enthusiasm about the prospect of representing this club,
Valentina is unique among forwards in Italy and has always been a difference-maker for whichever side she has played for.
Her arrival here underlines our ambitions: to continue to be a force in the Italian game and to start building an international profile
This is just a massive, massive signing and yet another masterstroke from Betty Bavagnoli.