Tactical Insights

England goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck joins Barcelona from Manchester City


Barcelona have completed the signing of England goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck on a free transfer.

Roebuck, 24, joins Barcelona on a two-year deal until 2026 following the expiration of her contract with Manchester City. The Athletic reported in April that Roebuck had signed an agreement to join the Spanish club in the summer.

The transfer means Roebuck becomes the Women’s Champions League holders’ third England international, joining midfielder Keira Walsh and right-back Lucy Bronze in the squad.

She will now compete with Barcelona No 1 Cata Coll and reserve keeper Gemma Font for a starting spot in goal next season.

In March, Roebuck revealed she had suffered a left occipital infarct, a type of stroke that occurs in the occipital lobe. She said she had not sustained lasting damage to her brain function or vision, adding she is “ready to give it all to get back to the thing I love most”. Barcelona were aware of the situation and have proceeded with the deal.

Roebuck has had her playing time restricted by the emergence of 19-year-old Khiara Keating. She did not play at all under manager Gareth Taylor last season, despite starting 17 out of 22 Women’s Super League games for City in 2022-23.

Speaking in May following the announcement of her exit, she said: “I’ve met so many great people along the way and it’s going to be really different and strange come next season. I feel like I’ve achieved what I wanted to achieve her and I’ve enjoyed every second of it.”

Roebuck won three FA Cups and three League Cups in nine years at City. She also won the Women’s Super League Golden Glove award for 2019-2020.

She was part of England’s European Championship-winning squad in 2022 but was omitted from Sarina Wiegman’s most recent Lioness squad, with Keating joining England No 1 Mary Earps and Chelsea’s Hannah Hampton.

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‘Coll will still be used for the big games’

Analysis from Barcelona correspondent Laia Cervello Herrero

For several years, Barcelona already knew that Coll was the future goalkeeper when Sandra Panos was no longer a starter. After tearing her ACL in February 2022, Coll was sidelined for a year and returned just before the World Cup, where she began as a substitute but then ended up starting. With her great performances in the tournament, the transition from Panos to Coll was accelerated, as well as Panos’ departure from Barcelona.

With the Panos’ exit and Coll as a starter, the club wanted to secure a second-choice goalkeeper, which is where Roebuck came in. Coll will be used for the big games, and Roebuck will give her a rest when she needs it.

When Roebuck suffered a stroke to her occipital lobe, the club made sure that the player had no lasting damage and did not want to back out of the deal.

Barcelona also renewed Gemma Font to secure a third goalkeeper in case there were any setbacks with the first two during the season.

 (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)



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