After their surprising run to the quarterfinals of the Champions League and capturing the first Scudetto in club history last season, Roma suddenly found themselves with an enormous amount of juice. The Giallorosse were always an intriguing club, given the legacy of the Roma name and the beauty of the city itself, but now the women of Roma were making their own mark. But how exactly would the Giallorosse capitalize on this newfound publicity?
While we're still miles away from dreaming of back-to-back titles, Roma has been busy arming themselves for what is sure to be a contentious season ahead. In the earliest weeks of the transfer market, Roma's M.O. was clear: cast a wide net in search of veterans capable of contributing immediately. By adding Saki Kumagai, Barbara Latorre, Laura Feiersinger, and Eseosa Aigbogun, the club did just that, as each player brings a wealth of experience to the club, making for easy transitions to Italian football.
But the club reversed course with their most recent acquisition, eschewing experience and European know-how for the promise of youth:
Yesterday afternoon, the club officially announced the signing of 23-year-old Spanish defender Oihane Valdezate. Arriving from Athletic Club Bilbao, the 5'11" defender/midfielder is Basque through and through, born just a stone's throw from Athletic Club's home ground in Biscay, Spain. Although she lacks experience, Valdezate was a mainstay for the Lionesses last season, making 30 appearances while scoring two goals and providing two assists.
On her decision to leave her hometown club, Valdezate spoke about Roma's ambitions for the upcoming season:
"I'm over the moon that a big club like Roma opted to sign me as the team seeks to achieve even more next season," stated Valdezate. "I'm so excited to get going. I can't wait to play in the Women's Champions League, I hope that we can go as far as possible in the competition."
Head of Women's Football Betty Bavagnoli praised Valdezate's technical abilities while gushing over her size and potential:
"Oihane is a youngster who has a great physique. Her footballing offering our eye, especially her technical abilities and the fact that she is comfortable using both feet," stated Roma's Head of Women's Football Betty Bavagnoli.
"Valdezate is really keen to play in Serie A, represent Roma and make a name for herself."
While some sources list Valdezate as a midfielder, all 30 of her appearances in Liga F last season came on the backline. In that sense, she should slot in nicely behind incumbents Moeka Minami and Elena Linari.