First-team signatures are always the focus for supporters, especially during the dying embers of a transfer window. Academy/youth arrivals are usually, in the moment at least, less exciting. Nonetheless, between the many transfers of teenagers that go under the radar, some eventually turn into stars. Now, Watford have secured themselves a talent already compared to James Rodríguez.
Watford Reportedly Sign Yaser Asprilla
However, the Colombian cannot join up with Watford until the start of the January transfer window as his 18thbirthday is in November (and he cannot make the transfer to Europe until the first transfer window after his 18thbirthday). Thus, he is in a similar position to Joao Pedro when the Hornets initially signed him from Fluminense.
Even though he is still very young and with limited senior experience, the excitement surrounding his name is loud – the transfer fee alone tells that story. So far this season, he has scored two goals and provided one assist in six appearances for Envigado in the Colombian top flight.
Asprilla is versatile, well adept at playing as a right-winger and as an attacking-midfielder. Those who have worked with him during his development at Envigado compared him to James Rodríguez. The two-time Champions League winner came through the Envigado youth ranks too. Thus, the ones making comparisons are from the same place that helped create a £70 million player. The World Cup 2014 top goal-scorer also was (and still is) able to play both centrally and as a winger like Asprilla.
The youngster follows in the footsteps of Cucho Hernandez, in the sense both were scouted at a young age in Colombia and started making waves in their home nation’s top flight before making the European swap (admittedly, Cucho made his first-team debut in lower tiers before being sold to Granada – the formerly-Pozzo-owned Spanish side then loaned him to America de Cali. The rights to Cucho’s services were given to Watford once the Pozzo family sold Granada in 2016).
Watford are well versed in their South American scouting success, uncovering gems such as Luis Javier Suarez and Pervis Estupinan who were sold for a combined fee of over £20 million despite never playing a competitive Vicarage Road minute. So, whether Asprilla signs as a financial investment for the future or to be eventually integrated into the first team remains to be seen, with the likelihood being the intention is a mix of both.
If these reports are true, the Hornets undoubtedly have themselves a player with plenty of raw talent and tremendous upside.