Ireland defender Louise Quinn is to join Italian club Fiorentina following her shock release from Arsenal.
The centre-back, who has earned 79 caps, is currently in Florence with her new club, who were second behind Juventus in Serie A when the season was curtailed due to Covid-19.
Squad changes aplenty have occurred since, with Quinn identified to replace experienced defender Laura Agard, who has departed for AC Milan. The signing will be finalised once international clearance is approved.
Fiorentina, backed by their new owner, billionaire Rocco Commisso, will enter next season’s Champions League at the last-32 stage.
Blessington native Quinn, who turned 30 last month, completed her three-year spell with the Gunners last month, racking up 76 appearances.
She was an integral part of their league-winning side of 2018/9 but struggled for game-time in their title defence but did, ironically, feature against her new club in the Uefa Champions League last-16 win last September.
Quinn had previously spent stints at Eskilstuna United in Sweden and English club Notts County after learning her trade on the domestic scene with Peamount United.
Her move abroad is a welcome boost ahead of Ireland’s European Championship qualification run-in.
Quinn has started all five matches so far in a campaign which sees Ireland top their group heading into the final three qualifiers.
With four wins in a draw from their opening five matches, Vera Pauw’s unbeaten Girls in Green require just one point to guarantee a play-off.
The top-of-the-table clash away to eight-time Euro champions Germany, postponed from April 11, has rescheduled for September 19.
That will be followed by another trip on October 23 to Ukraine before they complete the series on December 1 at Tallaght Stadium with a potential group decider against the Germans.
Ireland’s 3-0 victory in Montenegro on March 11, which leapfrogged them above Germany into top spot of Group I, was the last international match under Uefa’s jurisdiction before the coronavirus halted football across Europe.
The delays triggered by the pandemic have forced Uefa to push out the finals from next summer to July 2022.
Ireland have never reached a major tournament, coming closest when losing a play-off for Euro 2009 on a frozen pitch in Iceland.
For next year’s expanded 16-nation showpiece, the nine group winners will be joined by the three best runners-up and hosts England. The remaining three places will be filled by play-off victors.