Football writer Danny Penza looks at the versatility of Ghana midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah at Italian giants Juventus.
In the days leading up to the January transfer window, I sat down at the laptop, fired it up for a couple of hours, and wrote this about Juventus’ resident Ghanaian left wingback:
I like Kwadwo Asamoah quite a lot. He’s good at what he does and has awesome hashtags on the Twitter machine. (Maybe one outweighs the other, I’m not sure.) But it’s not exactly a secret that he’s better as a central midfielder. That’s where he made his name, that’s where his future should be.
It was part of a post about how Juventus might want to evaluate their left wingback situation during the upcoming transfer window. It wasn’t a demand that the club make some kind of move during that 31-day period where they ended up doing a whole lot of nothing, but just some…thoughts.
You know, thoughts about how Juventus could maybe, just maybe, make their squad a little better going forward.
Well, nearly four months after writing that, I’m going to write this here statement: Juventus’ left wingback of the future is already on the roster. Juventus’ left wingback of the future is their current one. His name is Kwadwo Asamoah and he is rather good at what he does for a living.
This isn’t some knee-jerk reaction to his stunning right-footed goal (!!!) against Fiorentina in early March. Nah, it’s anything but that. Putting an argument behind one awesome game and all the fun that comes with incredibly small sample sizes would kind of kill the argument entirely.
This is, however, an about-face kind of moment for yours truly. It’s the realization that Asamoah can, in fact, be the player that can hold down the long-term left wingback position for the foreseeable future. Not just for the guy who is writing this post, but for some other folks, too.
See? It’s not just me. There’s more of these, you just need to search the Twitter machine. They’re out there just waiting to be read. And not just because I’ve pointed them out to you. Search away, faithful readers.
Asamoah has changed the minds of people the way he should be doing so — by playing well and earning it. While Juventus were struggling through February and March, the same couldn’t be said about Asamoah. It’s his steady progress that has gotten him to this point, not the fact that Juve don’t have any other alternatives.
It was true that at first he was a left wingback because Juventus didn’t really have anybody better. There were other players who were at the same position, but even though Antonio Conte put a central midfielder by trade out wide, he was better than the competition he had. Better than Federico Peluso. Better than Paolo De Ceglie. Better than anybody else.
But as time has gone on, Asamoah has morphed into midfielder-turned-wingback into an actual wingback — one that is more than capable of making a serious difference in the match he’s playing in.
Would another option on the left wing help when it comes to squad depth next season? Absolutely. We’ve seen how much some players — Asamoah included — have had to be in the starting lineup the past two months because of all the injuries. Let’s be honest: If Juve entered the season with Peluso as a backup left back/left wingback, would we all be happy about it? You know, happy as in praising Beppe Marotta for standing pat rather than actively seeking somebody on the transfer market.
I think I know the answer to all of that.
But there’s one thing for certain — if Juventus see Asamoah’s long-term future with the club on the left wing, then he’s shown this season that he can handle it. And not just at a formidable performance level, either.
Hey, one less thing to worry about the next time the transfer window opens, right? No need to copy and paste from this past December. Not as long as Asamoah continues to make progress like he is right now. Now I gotta figure out something else to write about..
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