Believe it or not, we do try to keep a tight lid on which Roma players may or may not be our favorites (except for the guy in our URL), but we've always found it difficult to remain ambivalent (or I suppose ambiguous) about Agnese Bonfantini. Starting with our very first match preview, in which she graced our front page, we've seldom if ever hid our affections for Roma's 22-year-old winger who we hyped as the Italian Alex Morgan.
With an impressive set of carefully honed skills, explosive athleticism, and a flair for the dramatic, Bonfantini bore more than a passing resemblance to her American idol. But, through her three seasons with Roma, she never really managed to harness her immense capabilities—at least not with any measure of consistency.
Outside of her torrid run through the spring of 2020, Bonfantini's potential seemingly always outstripped her production. Still, despite her hot and cold tendencies, expectations were sky-high for Bonfantini this past season. Fresh off a career-high seven-goal campaign in 2019-2020, Bonfantini was expected to take some of the scoring and playmaking pressure of Annamaria Serturini, but instead of stepping up, Bonfantini actually took a step backward.
While she eclipsed 20 appearances for the second time in three seasons, Bonfantini managed to find the back of the net only once last season and was frequently left out of Betty Bavagnoli's lineup altogether, losing playing time to Lindsey Thomas at right-wing.
And now, with Roma transitioning to a new phase under the recently hired Alessandro Spugna, Bonfantini's time with the Giallorosse has come to a close. Moments ago, the club confirmed what we caught wind of a few weeks ago: They've traded Bonfantini to Juventus for Benedetta Glionna.
Glionna, a 21-year-old midfielder/forward from Napoli, came up through the Juventus youth academy and scored six goals for the Old Lady as a 19-year-old during the 2018-2019 season. Despite that impressive rookie campaign, Glionna was loaned to Verona the following season, scoring five goals in 16 appearances. From there, she moved to Empoli on loan for the 2020-2021 season, where she played for Spugna and emerged as one of the league's breakout players.
In 18 appearances, Glionna scored 10 goals (5th most in the league) while providing four assists (tied for 4th in the league), helping Empoli to a surprising sixth-place finish. Capable of playing attacking mid, wing, and even striker, Glionna should be a key figure for Roma as they transition to life under Spugna.
While it may sting to see Bonfantini leave (and to Juve of all places), a solid case can be made that Roma are making out like bandits in this deal. Bonfantini’s ceiling is extraordinary—and playing with Juve very well may help her fulfill her potential—but there's no denying it: Glionna is the better (and more versatile) player at the moment.
Born only a few weeks apart, Glionna has just as much room to grow as Bonfantini, and if their respective careers to date are any indication, she's well ahead of Bonfantini on the developmental curve.
Based on her resumé and her experience playing for Spugna at Empoli last season, Glionna could be in line for a huge season in 2021-2022.
So while it's okay to upset at Bonfantini's departure, don't let that dampen your enthusiasm about Glionna's arrival and her potential for greatness—which is immense.
This kid is the real deal and could very well become Roma's best-attacking asset in no time.