Barcelona have moved quickly to replace departed captain Vicky Losada by striking a deal to sign Wolfsburg and Norway midfielder Ingrid Engen.
Losada’s exit at the end of the club’s historic treble-winning season, which included thrashing Chelsea in the Champions League final, left a significant hole in central midfield. France international Kheira Hamrouai has also left the club this summer.
Engen has signed a two-year contract with Barça until the summer of 2023. She joined Wolfsburg after impressing at the 2019 World Cup and went on to play for the German club in the 2020 Champions League final, losing out to Lyon.
The 23-year-old won’t be going to the Olympics this summer as Norway haven’t qualified, but she will be among the stars to watch at Euro 2022 in England next year and the 2023 World Cup in Australia/New Zealand 12 months further on.
Engen joins international colleague Caroline Graham Hansen at Barça, having previously arrived at Wolfsburg just as Hansen was leaving to make the switch to Catalonia.
“It means a lot to me. I am proud to be here. It is a dream come true. They are the best team in the world because of how they play and what they have won. I can’t wait to join the group!” a clearly delighted Engen told Barça TV.
“I love to have the ball so I think I’ll sit into the Barça style very well.”
Barcelona will hope that Engen’s arrival will strengthen their chances of retaining the Champions League title next season, although the likes of Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon, Manchester City, Arsenal and others will be determined to make their own mark.
The Women’s Champions League has been revamped by UEFA for the new campaign. Not only is the prize money involved more lucrative than before, the introduction of a group stage means clubs that make it to that round will have six guaranteed games, as opposed to the old straight knockout format.