Joel Asoro undoubtedly has the ability to make a real impact in League One next season - but that relies solely on Sunderland actually convincing the young Swedish forward that his short-term future is best spent on Wearside.
With twelve months left on his contract, Sunderland have a rather tricky situation to navigate with arguably the best player to come out the Academy of Light since Jordan Pickford.
Luckily we can keep Asoro and he will not leave for free next summer if he chooses to not sign a new deal, but the compensation we will receive for him is likely to be paltry compared to what we could potentially receive this summer. Could we really blame the club for turning down a bid in excess of £5 million with high sell on clauses? No, probably not. At this level that money is a game changer.
But imagine if we can get Asoro signed up to a long-term deal? Well, that would just be stupendously good news.
This is a player who is not even 20-years-old. He made 29 appearances for the club last season - though only 11 were starts - and he did not look out of place in a single one of them.
Look at the quality of that goal he scored against Fulham - an absolutely thunder-humper from 25-yards against a team that is now in the Premier League.
Now, his goal return of three might look poor from the outside. But remember, Asoro is a teenager, and he was dealing with limited service in a side that rarely strung more than five passes together in a row.
This, though, is where I see the potential gold in Asoro. Jack Ross and the new ownership will sort this squad out into something resembling an actual football team, something we have not been able to say since the departure of Sam Allardyce.
Asoro will be given actual teammates who can play to his strengths - rather than the standard Lamine Kone 50-yard careless over-the-top punt, or the trademark John O’Shea wayward pass destined to go out for a throw-in. Asoro will be playing in a team that will actually be good enough to win games.
And let’s just say Asoro can have a superb season where he nets a decent number of goals and assists. Imagine the price tag then? Far more than what we are expected to get in this window. If the club plays this right and gets Asoro signed, then they will have made arguably their best signing of the summer.
I wrote about Paddy McNair the other week and the importance of him staying and I feel that Asoro falls into that same category. We have a player here who is young, full of potential and can grow alongside the club.
The vision that Stewart Donald has for the club is infectious - just look at the 20,000 lunatics who have signed up for season cards despite the fact that our home form over the last five years has been nothing short of atrocious.
2⃣0⃣,0⃣0⃣0⃣— Sunderland AFC ⚪ (@SunderlandAFC) June 8, 2018
Season card sales have now surpassed the 20,000 mark!!
Read more here, including a message from Charlie Methven... https://t.co/A7hE0ds2dz
If Stewart Donald can get the fans on boar, then surely he can have a good go at doing the same with the players. Lads like Asoro, McNair, Honeyman, Gooch, and Maja have the chance to be part of something huge and it is vital that the club does everything in their power to keep them in the red and white of Sunderland.
At the core of the optimism is the idea that Sunderland will now act like a proper football club. A club that does not get its pants pulled down in every transfer negotiation. A club that does not get bullied by agents. A club where the players want to play for Sunderland. A club with community.
Getting Joel Asoro to buy into Sunderland’s newfound positive, resilient mentality would make the dawn of our new era even brighter. Here’s hoping Donald and co. can do just that.