As much as Juventus Women’s in-house attack is the best Serie A Femminile has to offer and is looking to get even better under new manager Joe Montemurro, the young and talented on-loan pieces around the league have always caught the eye of many.
Asia Bragonzi, Benedetta Glionna and Sofia Cantore have been long thought of as the next wave of Italian attacking talent both at the club and country level — and that’s even with all three of them already showing their talents in Turin during the first two years of Juventus Women’s existence.
✍️ | Agnese Bonfantini is officially a Juventus player! ⚪️⚫️— Juventus Women (@JuventusFCWomen) July 5, 2021
➡️ https://t.co/emKQXddduq#WelcomeAgnese pic.twitter.com/Ygr2hSB1zW
UFFICIALE: Benedetta Glionna è una nuova calciatrice giallorossa!— AS Roma Femminile (@ASRomaFemminile) July 5, 2021
https://t.co/pY0bNZUh8G#ASRoma #ASRomaFemminile pic.twitter.com/O62VRxnENN
But as the Montemurro era is set to officially begin as training starts up next week, one of those young names is now officially no longer on Juve’s books.
After weeks of speculation regarding a swap deal of two of Italy’s most talented young attackers, Juventus and Roma announced Monday that Glionna and Agnese Bonfantini have officially switched clubs. While not technically worded as a swap deal by Juventus, Glionna — who spent last season on loan at Empoli and had some of her best moments of the 2020-21 season against the club that owned her contract — heads to the Italian capital, while Bonfantini will get a fresh start with Juventus after a tough year with Roma following a breakout 2019-20 campaign.
Both players have reportedly put pen to paper on three-year contracts — which is quite noteworthy considering professionalism in Italy could very well kick in come the start of the 2022-23 season.
Bonfantini, an undeniable favorite of our friends over at Chiesa Di Totti, didn’t exactly meet expectations in the 2020-21 campaign after a fantastic showing the season before where she scored seven goals in just 15 league matches. This past season, Bonafantini found the back of the net just once and added two assists, with her playing time falling off in the second half of the 2020-21 campaign.
Glionna, meanwhile, spent the last two years out on loan after having a reserve role in Juve’s first two seasons, first playing with Hellas Verona and then Empoli this past year. Her best season as a professional came with Empoli, only confirming that the 21-year-old fantista is starting to truly live up to the hype. Glionna scored a team-leading 10 goals — which was also the fifth-highest total in Serie A Femminile — and had four assists in 18 appearances (all starts). She also absolutely went off in the first leg of the Coppa Italia quarterfinal matchup against Juventus, scoring a trio of free kicks in what proved to be a wild 5-4 win for the Bianconere.
As a teenager, Glionna scored six goals in 18 appearances (eight starts) in league play during her final season with Juventus in 2018-19.
Glionna has also been a consistent call-up to the Italian women’s national team over the past season as international fixtures resumed amidst the pandemic.
And as much as Glionna is viewed as the better player of the two, Bonfantini is likely the better fit for this Juventus team as Montemurro takes over for Rita Guarino. (Still mad Rita went to Inter, as you should be, too.) If Montemurro decides to stick with the attacking trio of Cristiana Girelli, Barbara Bonansea and Lina Hurtig that Guarino used to such high effectiveness last season. Bonfantini will likely slot in and be the natural replacement for Maria Alves, who headed back home to Brazil following the completion of the 2020-21 season. With all that went wrong for the 22-year-old Bonfantini last season, a change of scenery could be the thing that starts to unlock her big-time talent once again.
Sure, seeing Glionna join a direct rival will be tough to swallow — especially if she continues to play like she did at Empoli — but getting a player back like Bonfantini is definitely something that will prove useful. And if she plays like she did two seasons ago, it will take a lot of the sting out of the loss of Glionna, too.