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Official: Roma Signs Elena Linari

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No one saw this coming, but this could be a game changer for a struggling but ambitious Roma side.

Portugal v Italy - Algarve Cup Photo by Visionhaus

The winter transfer market is seldom a time for huge, splashy signings, as teams generally try to fine-tune the edges of their roster for the stretch run: a backup-striker here, a utility midfielder there, maybe a new reserve keeper for shits and giggles. But every so often Roma makes a headline-grabbing move that stirs you from your winter slumber: think Luca Toni from 2010 or even Stephan El Shaarawy from 2016—big-name players that make an immediate impact.

The signing of Elena Linari, which was just made official by the club, doesn't fit either of those molds: it smashes them into a million little pieces. Linari, formerly of Fiorentina, Atletico Madrid, and, most recently, Bordeaux, is one of the best defenders in the game, is smack dab in the middle of her physical prime and was, quite literally, the first female Italian footballer to sign a professional contract when she moved to Madrid in 2018. This is an earth-shaking, paradigm-altering signing, make no mistake about that.

Linari, 26-years-old, made her Serie A debut as a teenager with Fiorentina in 2010 and played eight seasons in Italy (split between Fiorentina and Brescia), winning three Scudetti, four Coppa Italias, and two Supercoppas before signing with Atletico Madrid in 2018.

Her two-year stint in the Spanish capital saw her lay claim to the ‘18-’19 Primera Division title and a runner's up medal from the 2019 Copa del Rey. Fueled by her success in Spain, Linari was an indispensable part of Italy's 2019 World Cup campaign, where she started and played every single minute of the Azzurre's run to the Quarterfinals.

Linari then parlayed her success with Atletico into a move to Bordeaux this past summer, though, for a variety of reasons, the move didn't work out as anyone expected with Linari making only three appearances this season

But, Bordeaux's loss is Roma's gain. Now that Linari reached an agreement with Bordeaux to terminate her contract, she is officially an AS Roma player, signing a deal through 2023.

On her new club, Linari got straight to the point:

I chose Roma because it’s Roma...The club has a great past, a fantastic present and a big future ahead of it too. I think I am at the right stage of my career to help the team to progress and improve

Linari will wear number 32 for Roma, who resume their Serie A season when they play host to last place Napoli on Sunday. We'll have to wait and see if Linari makes her debut this weekend (she hasn't played since October), but it won't be long before Linari makes her presence known in Roma.