Joel Asoro: The grass isn’t always greener

Joel Asoro's underwhelming spell in South Wales has come to an end as the youngster returns to Sweden on a permanent deal.
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Joel Asoro in action for Swansea City last season

Championship high-flyers Swansea City have announced the departure of winger Joel Asoro to Swedish club Djurgardens for an undisclosed fee.

Joining from Sunderland in the summer of 2018, following the Black Cats’ relegation to the third tier, a large amount of hype surrounded the youngster.

It was not hard to see why. 

Winning Sunderland’s young player of the year the season before, Asoro weighed in with three strikes in an impressive eleven starts. But after scoring the goal to put Sunderland 1-0 up away to Fulham in their penultimate fixture, Asoro has not scored a single Championship goal since.

In the midst of his promising emergence on Wearside, Asoro blossomed as a star of the hit Netflix documentary Sunderland ‘Til I Die’, captivating viewers with his charismatic demeanour and forming a brotherhood with fellow prospect Josh Maja.

Initially perceived to possess the higher ceiling of the two, Asoro and Maja’s career paths have been hugely contrasting since the Swede departed the North East.

Maja remained at the Stadium of Light for a further six months before earning a move to Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux. After hitting eleven goals in forty-nine appearances for Les Girondins, the 22-year-old was snapped up by Scott Parker’s Fulham on a loan deal to aid their Premier League survival bid.

Sadly, it really is a far cry from Asoro’s pitiful fortunes.

Asoro’s first season at the Liberty Stadium was an abject failure –  the £2m man registered fourteen appearances without a single goal or assist, seemingly signalling the beginning of the end for his Swansea City career.

A loan move to Dutch side FC Groningen followed, but again, Asoro was unable to impose himself in the starting XI. 

Therefore, it came as something of a shock when Serie A Genoa decided to take a punt on the youngster. 

However, Asoro did not even muster a minute of football over in Italy, making the matchday squad on only one occasion and unsurprisingly seeing his loan spell cut short in January.

Prior to the 21-year old’s departure, Swansea head coach Steve Cooper provided a timely indication of how Asoro’s star has diminished since his awe-inspiring arrival on Welsh soil.

Speaking to WalesOnline, Cooper said: “I know he hasn’t featured at all so it’s obviously not ideal.

“Whether he comes back here or not, he won’t be part of our first-team set up.”

Just a month later, Asoro’s spell in South Wales was over.

Asoro’s inability to live up to the hype remains one of football’s many mysteries. Detrimental factors such as personal issues and a feeling of unwelcomeness at the club have been cited as potential reasons.

Or maybe, it was just the wrong move at the wrong time.

Nonetheless, Asoro will be hoping that a return to his homeland can reactivate the potential that wowed so many in his youth. 

Ultimately, it will be decisive for the stagnating attacker. He still has the value of time in his ownership but the former youth international needs to finally make good of his promise.

It is well and truly, the last chance saloon for young Asoro.

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