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Roma Season Preview: Rearmed, Revamped & Ready to Defend the Scudetto

Yeah, the Giallorosse lost a couple of big names, but Betty Bavagnoli added a trio of savvy veterans and two supremely talented U-23s to Roma's already loaded roster.

Football, Women Italian Serie A: AS Roma award ceremony Photo by Elianto/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Winning the Scudetto last year was sweet enough on its own, but capturing the first league title in club history while halting Juventus' five-year run at the top of the table was the stuff of dreams. After essentially running the table last year, dominating the league from start to finish before winning the Scudetto with three weeks to play, the Giallorosse now face a new challenge: defending their title.

Taking home the title was the culmination of an exquisitely crafted five-year plan by Head of Women's Football Betty Bavagnoli, who guided the team from concept to conquest, taking an abstract idea on paper and turning it into a title-winning side, one that also reached the quarterfinals in the Champions League on its first try.

The club may have lost a few key pieces this summer, but with a core of players just entering their prime years and several intriguing U-23 pieces ready to stake their place, the stage is set: Roma has the makings of a dynasty, but this year will be pivotal.

So, without further delay, let's dive right in and see if the Giallorosse have what it takes to repeat as league champions. And we'll start off with the transfer market.

Summer Transfers

While it doesn't generate as much press as the men's game, Bavagnoli was hard at work this summer, adding an intriguing mixture of European-tested veterans and U-23 players to the mix.


  • Barbara Latorre (F, Atletico Madrid)
  • Laura Feiersinger (MF, Eintracht Frankfurt)
  • Eseosa Aigbogun (MF/FB, Paris FC)
  • Oihane Valdezate (CB, Bilbao)
  • Martina Tomaselli (MF, Sassuolo)
  • Saki Kumagai (MF, Bayern Munich)
  • Evelyne Viens (F, Kristianstad)
  • Tinja-Riikka Korpela (GK, Spurs)


  • Carina Wenninger (D, Retired)
  • Andressa Alves (MF/F, Houston Dash)
  • Sophie Roman-Haug (F, Liverpool)
  • Vicky Losada (MF, Brighton)
  • Emma Lind (GK, Norrkoping)
  • Alva Selerud (FB, Linkoping)
  • Norma Cinotti (MF, Fiorentina)

While losing Wenninger, Andressa, and Roman-Haug will sting, Bavagnoli added talent, experience, and versatility by signing Kumagai, Latorre, Aigbogun, and Feiersinger, each of whom has survived the slings and arrows of European and international competitions. And while Viens is a bit older than Roman-Haug, she's scored 33 goals in her past two seasons in Sweden and was the 5th overall pick in the 2020 NWSL draft, so the 26-year-old Quebec native may have some untapped potential.

They may not assume significant roles this season, but in time, Valdezate and Tomaselli could become stars in their own right, joining Giada Greggi and Manuela Giugliano as the team's pillars.

Positional Previews


  • Camelia Ceasar
  • Tinja-Riikka Korpela
  • Stephanie Öhrström
AS Roma Women Training Session Photo by Luciano Rossi/AS Roma via Getty Images

We've been talking about Ceasar for so long that it's hard to believe she's only 25 years old. And what the Romanian keeper lacks in stature, she makes up for in quick reflexes, positioning, and a flair for the dramatic. Throughout her tenure in the capital, Ceasar has risen to the occasion, picking shots out of the air, making miraculous last-ditch saves, and stopping penalties stone cold to deliver the Coppa Italia two years ago.

Roma's defense may suffer in Wenninger's absence, but Ceasar's big-game experience should keep the backline on an even keel all season long.


  • Elisa Bartoli
  • Lucia Di Guglielmo
  • Eseosa Aigbogun

While the full-backs lack depth, you can't argue with the talent. Bartoli's best days may be behind her, but the 32-year-old Roman has been a rock for her hometown club, turning in 23 appearances in all competitions last season, adding three goals for good measure.

The newly added Aigbogun should provide cover on both flanks and could even see time in midfielder or central defense, but the real breadwinner here is Di Guglielmo. The 26-year-old Italian international has become one of the most dangerous attacking full-backs in Serie A.

AS Roma Women Training Session Photo by Luciano Rossi/AS Roma via Getty Images

Last season, Di Guglielmo ranked in the 75th percentile or higher among Serie A full-backs in a host of attacking and possession categories, including progressive carries, carries into the final third, passes into the final third, passes into the penalty area and crosses into the penalty area, to name a few. And to top it all off, she ranked in the 94th percentile in dribbles tackled and the 84th percentile in clearances, according to Football Reference.

At only 26, the best is yet to come for Di Gugliemo, who will be critical to Alessandro Spugna's up-tempo attack this season.


  • Moeka Minami
  • Elena Linari
  • Oihane Valdezate

The Minami-Linari-Wenninger trio was arguably the best defensive unit in the league last season, giving Spugna three supremely talented and experienced center-backs to rely on as the club raced to its first league title. In that light, it was somewhat surprising to see the club eschew another veteran defender. Still, Valdezate, though young, is incredibly promising, and at 5'11", she brings exceptional size to the backline.

Football, Women Italian Serie A: AS Roma award ceremony

While Valzdezate may come to dominate the opposition soon enough, that honor belonged to Minami and Linari last season. They may not be hard-nosed defenders in the classic Italian style, but as two mobile, ball-playing defenders, they are ideally suited to Spugna's tactical approach and are dynamic enough to close out attackers and jumpstart counterattacks in the same breath.


  • Manuela Giugliano
  • Giada Greggi
  • Saki Kumagai
  • Claudia Ciccotti
  • Laura Feiersinger
  • Martina Tomaselli
  • Zara Kramzar

Arguably the most talented section of the team, Roma's midfield oozes class. From Giugliano's defense-splitting passes and setpiece wizardry to Greggi's relentless running, retention, and ball-winning to Kumagai's championship pedigree, Roma's midfield isn't lacking much. And to top it all off, they added one of Italy's brightest young talents in Martina Tomaselli, who joined the Giallorosse from Sassuolo this summer.

While Kumagai brings a gaggle of titles to the fore and Greggi is slowly becoming one of Italy's best midfielders, the star of the show is undoubtedly Giugliano. The 26-year-old center-mid is, quite simply, one of the best midfielders in the world, capable of contributing at all three levels: defense, transition, and attack.

AS Roma v Fiorentina - Women Serie A Playoffs Photo by Luciano Rossi/AS Roma via Getty Images

Over the last year, Giugliano ranked in the 90th percentile or higher compared to midfielders in the top eight female leagues in the world in key passes, passes into the final third, passes into the penalty area, progressive passes, switches, crosses, shot-creating actions, and goal-creating actions, according to Football Reference.

In the parlance of our times, she's dope. And as we often say, she's the only number 10 in town for a reason. As long as Giugliano is on the pitch, Roma stands a chance. And with veterans like Kumagai, Ciccotti, and Feiersinger there to lend a hand, Roma's midfield could be among the best in Europe this season.


  • Valentina Giacinti
  • Emilie Haavi
  • Benedetta Glionna
  • Annamaria Serturini
  • Barbara Latorre
  • Evelyne Viens

With 39 goals + assists (all comps) between them, Giacinti and Haavi were arguably the best tandem in the league last year. And thanks to her breakout season, Haavi took home MVP honors last spring. The club will undoubtedly miss Sophie Roman-Haug and her near-limitless potential, but the combination of Giacinti, Haavi, Glionna, and Serturini gives Roma an enviable combination of speed, precision, and finishing.

AS Roma v FC Barcelona: Quarter-Final 1st Leg - UEFA Women’s Champions League Photo by Emmanuele Ciancaglini/Ciancaphoto Studio/Getty Images

And if Glionna (24) and Serturini (25) can continue their progression, Spugna's attack stands to be even more potent this season, doubly so if Viens' form in the Swedish league translates to Italy. But with Bartoli, Di Guglielmo, Giugliano, and Greggi feeding them, Roma's forwards should feast on Serie A defenses this season.


Season Outlook

If the past few seasons have proven anything, Serie A Femminile is becoming a two-horse race between Roma and Juventus. That's not to say clubs like Fiorentina and Milan can't reclaim their places near the top of the table, but if the league follows the same script, we can expect a neck-and-neck race between the Giallorosse and the Old Lady this season.

We'll stop short of making an actual prediction, and while they'll sorely miss the contributions of Andressa Alves, Carina Wenninger, and Sophie Roman-Haug, the club did more than enough to rearm the squad for their first-ever title defense. With star talents like Valentina Giacinti, Manuela Giugliano, Emilie Haavi, and Lucia Di Guglielmo surrounded by a cast of savvy veterans and exciting young talents, Roma is deep enough to weather the storm and should be in the Scudetto conversation to the bitter end.

Throw in the Coppa Italia and another season in the Champions League, and we're in for an exciting season ahead!

And it all starts tomorrow in Milan.