Roma Women have announced former Lyon and Bayern Munich player Saki Kumagai as their first summer signing for 2023.
Captain of the Japan national team, with whom she won the World Cup in 2011, Kumagai has signed a contract until 2025 at Roma.
Able to play as a defensive midfielder or centre-back, she arrives after two years with Bayern Munich. Before that, she enjoyed eight seasons with Lyon, where she won the Champions League in five consecutive editions.
Now, at the age of 32, Kumagai is entering Italian football for the first time in her glittering career.
She told the club’s official website: “I’m thrilled to join Roma and can’t wait to play for this club.
“I’m grateful to Roma for showing their faith in me and I’ll give my all to repay the confidence shown in me and meet the team’s expectations. I want to make history for this club.”
Although able to play in defence – where Roma already have a Japanese player in the shape of Moeka Minami – Kumagai should feature more frequently in midfield, which leaves the door open for the club to still sign a replacement for her former Bayern teammate, Carina Wenninger. The Austria international is retiring after her season on loan at Roma.
With Champions League qualification secured again for next season after a famous first Scudetto, Roma have quickly put the disappointment of Sunday’s defeat in the Coppa Italia final behind them by announcing a high-pedigree first recruit for the forthcoming campaign.
According to The Guardian, Kumagai was the 92nd best female player on the planet in 2022 (no Roma player made the list), showing she still has what it takes to succeed at the top level.
Now, she will be focusing on the upcoming World Cup, where she will be leading Japan. After that, her Roma career can begin.