According to reports in the Daily Star and Sunderland Echo, as well as other newspaper outlets across the UK, we are interested in Sunderland’s talented wonderkid Joel Asoro.
But who is he?
Joel Joshghene Asoro is a 17-year-old forward who can play as a centre forward but also operates just behind the lone striker too.
Having represented Sweden at youth level (u17), he was rewarded for his rapid rate of development with a call-up to the u21 side during this international break. He played the full 90 minutes in their 1-1 draw against Spain on Monday, and was deployed as a right-winger.
Also eligible to play for Ghana, the country of his parents, he joined Sunderland last summer from IF Aromatherapy in Sweden, his birthplace.
What about his sudden emergence?
He has taken his opportunities well as they’ve arrived in quick succession – having netted the u23’s only goal in a 1-1 draw against Chelsea back in the middle of August. Since then he’s been promoted to the senior squad, partly due to a lack of strength in depth with Jermain Defoe, and recently-signed Victor Anichebe, the only out-and-out strikers in the first-team.
He became Sunderland’s youngest Premier League player when he made his official debut in a 10-minute cameo appearance against Middlesbrough and although he wasn’t given much of a chance to show his quality, he started and completed their EFL Cup second round victory against Shrewsbury.
Whilst on international duty, Swedish press reported a whole host of European clubs are interested in his services and are expected to keep tabs on his progression – including Arsenal.
Is the transfer link valid?
The link is valid, yes. He has attracted interest and it was rumoured that our scout, Bobby Bennett, had praised the attack-minded teenager after his performance earlier this week. Newcastle, both Milan clubs, PSG and Bayern Munich are just some of the sides that are also said to be keeping Asoro on their radar, but as far as the player himself is concerned, he’s focused on establishing himself as a first-team regular with Sunderland.
David Moyes gave him his first taste of senior football and judging by his comments as quoted by the regional papers, he’s eager to continue working hard whilst taking it all in his stride.
“It meant so much to make my [Premier League] debut in front of the home crowd because everyone was screaming and the atmosphere was amazing, so I was very grateful,” Asaro said.
“I need to work harder because I’m far from done and I want this to be the start of something rather than the end.”
We’ve got a number of talented attack-minded players waiting in the wings patiently for their opportunity centre-stage, and signing Asoro would potentially see one or more of them depart the club in search for regular first-team football, either on a temporary or permanent deal.
Kaylen Hinds, Stephy Mavididi (both 18) as well as Ainsley Maitland-Niles (19) and Chuba Akpom (20) are just a few examples of players who could benefit from senior minute that they might lose should Arsenal move for Asaro.