Malmö FF announced the signing of Romain Gall to a contract that runs through 2022. The 23-year old American attacker joined the Swedish powerhouse after a very productive stint at GIF Sundsvall. According to Daniel Kristoffersson of Kvällsposten, the transfer fee is “just over five million kronor” or roughly $560,000.
In an introductory interview with the club’s website, Gall describes Malmö as “the best club in Sweden” and says that the move will “further [his] career”.
Gall was a regular fixture with various U.S. youth national team sides and considered a top American prospect. After spending time with the D.C. United and Real Salt Lake academies, he moved to Lorient before making a return stateside to Columbus Crew SC. After being released by the Crew, he moved to Nyköpings BIS in the Swedish third division. The move was an adjustment for the young American.
“It was extremely tough, especially in the beginning,” Gall told Kristian Heneage in May. “I had never been to Sweden and it’s a very small town so there’s not much to do. I was by myself, so all I could do was focus, work hard, and get out of there. Obviously, it’s tough without my family and the time difference and all that, but there’s not much to do, just work.”
After impressing with Nyköpings, Gall moved to GIF Sundsvall in the top flight. Following a brief adjustment period, he began the 2018 season on a tear, scoring nine goals in 16 league and cup appearances. Prior to joining Malmö, Gall reportedly received interest from an “unnamed MLS club” and Eredivisie club Heerenveen.
Malmö is historically the top club in Swedish soccer, having won the Allsvenskan 23 times. The Blues are struggling midway through the 2018 season (which runs from April through November); currently, they’re in 7th place which puts them eight points out of third place and a Europa League spot. All is not lost, as Malmö has an upcoming Champions League second round qualifying series against Romanian club CRF Cluj.
While a move to Malmö may not be the most exciting step, it provides Gall with the potential to play in various continental competitions and continue his development. His persistence in pursuit of a professional career and willingness to take risks are admirable: many players wouldn’t have moved to the Swedish third division to prove themselves and some would have never rebounded after a few stops and starts. If Gall earns consistent playing time at Malmö and continues to score in bunches, then he should be an obvious call-up for future national team squads. A January camp invitation should be all but guaranteed considering the Allsvenskan’s spring-to-fall schedule, but he probably shouldn’t have to wait that long in this new youth-focused era.