After seeing a litany of last year’s top players—Alia Guagni, Ilaria Mauro, Alice Parisi, Davina Philtjens, Laura Agard, Lisa de Vana, Paloma Lázaro—flee Florence without seeing any reinforcements arrive, most Fiorentina fans were getting mighty nervous about the lack of big-name replacements. The Viola finally have one, though, in centerback Louise Quinn.
The 30-year-old Irish international spent the past 3 years with Arsenal, helping the Gunners win the Premier League last time out, but she took quite a road to get there. Her first action outside of Ireland was with Eskilstuna in the Swedish second division; she led them to midtable in the top tier before moving to Notts County, which folded due to mismanagement by previous owner Alan Hardy. She then signed a short-term contract with Arsenal and worked her way into the XI.
While she’s pretty well unbeatable in the air and reads the game really well, she’s also quite good on the ball; coach Joe Montemurro recently said, “The growth of Louise, I mean I think she’s got the highest pass percentage in the Women’s Super League in terms of completed passes. Okay, a lot of it is preparing for us to go forward — fair enough. But she’s unbelievable. She’s a ball-playing centre-back now. Plus with the attributes in the air, plus the tackling, plus the positioning… In 12 months, she’s developed into a world-class defender.”
In Florence, she’ll slot right into the heart of the defense. The real question for Antonio Cincotta is who’ll partner her; veteran Janni Arnth may have the inside track, as she and Quinn were teammates at Arsenal for a couple of years, but Alice Tortelli is one of Italy’s best young defenders and seems a natural in the middle, although she can also fill in at fullback in a pinch, as she did during Guagni’s injury absence. This could also let Cincotta run out the best back three in the league if he moves away from his usual 4-4-2.
It’s also worth mentioning that Louise Quinn seems like a real leader; with 79 caps and 11 goals for her country, not to mention her silverware collection (Premier League, Irish League, FAI Cup), she’s seen it all. Off the pitch, she’s also active with 20x20, an initiative to get more women involved in sports at all levels in Ireland.
We’re wildly excited to see her patrolling the defense at the Gino Bozzi next year, as she should further strengthen an already-strong spine of this Fiorentina team. While it may feel like the end of a cycle with so many Viola players leaving, a signing like Quinn announces that the club is ready to keep competing at the top of league. Welcome Louise!