Larsson wanted a move to a club from Europe’s top league
Swedish forward Jordan Larsson, after his high-profile breakup with Spartak, still has not found a new team. There were initial rumors that there was demand for the player and that he would continue his career in one of Europe’s top leagues. Recent reports, however, have been at odds with that, with Jordan moving closer and closer to Olympiacos in Greece. Here’s a look at where the Swede might end up, whether he can pull off a top league deal and where the road now lies for him.
Words were louder than actions
Larsson could have easily produced a manual on how to screw up fan relations in less than a year. It’s not just about the player’s public statements, it’s about his game. Before fleeing to Sweden, he spent the faintest six months in Russia
Starting the 2021/2022 season as Spartak’s leader, the Swedish forward did not perform a single productive act in the first part of the new championship. Yes, the entire team’s play was in decline – with their new coach, the Red and Whites forgot how to convert their chances and slipped sharply down to 10th place in the standings.
However, Larsson is the player who slammed the door loudest. His contract suspension and move to AIK no longer seemed like a letdown, while statements in the media indicated that Spartak would not go with him.
Specifically, before terminating his contract, Jordan stated:
I had a fantastic time at AIK. Let’s see what that means for my future. It’s good that FIFA extended the term. That way I won’t have to go back to Russia.
Aleksandr Khadzhi, ex-administrator of Spartak, summarized his comments on the player’s departure:
He hasn’t helped the team much lately. Larsson always played for the team and then he went on loan. I can’t say it’s a big loss for the team. In fact, I do not even see his place in the squad now. As I remember, he had good matches. Larsson seemed to play well at first, but then, when the coaching turmoil began, he got an injury, and then somehow he just faded away. This coaching turmoil is not good for anyone.
Still, the pronounced dislike for a return to the RPL on the background of zero results looks comical and silly.
Stagnated from the top leagues of Europe to Olympiacos
Before the contract with Spartak was terminated, Jordan and AIK wanted to continue their partnership, since the player could stay in his home league for a year or two to go on the offensive in European championships. But, apparently, the parties did not agree on the financial terms – the president of the Swedish club feared that the player’s salary requirements would be too high:
“At this point, I don’t know where Jordan will continue his career. It’s better to talk to him personally or his agent here. Of course, we would like Larsson to stay at AIK, he is a great player. But I don’t think we have that much money. Will Larsson ask for a lot of money? I think so. And we won’t be able to pay that much.
Besides, Larsson wanted to try himself in one of Europe’s top leagues. Expectations were probably not met – it was reported that Celtic approached the player. The option under the footballer’s ambitions, of course, is not very suitable. But the Scots regularly take part in the Champions League qualifiers, while in the Europa League they are fighting for the playoffs.
Now Olympiacos is on the horizon – the Greeks are relatively in the same position. The clubs are not in the top 5 of the UEFA rankings, but there is no time to turn our noses up at them.
It’s time for Larsson to move somewhere
Judging by the procrastination, Jordan is holding out hope for an offer from a more established club. But while he’s dragging his feet on that decision, the start of the season is approaching in all countries. Any procrastination will have a negative impact on his adjustment to the new conditions – there will be no preseason and he’ll have to roll in the game on the fly.
If we’re talking about the game schemes of the Scots and Greeks – they both play in four defenders and vary the 4-3-3 with 4-2-3-1. Larsson has not really shown himself in such formations – a truly Swedish striker reveals himself either in a pair of central strikers, or plays alone at the edge. Celtic have Georgios Yakoumakis, who netted 13 goals in 21 national league games last season, and Albian Ajeti is in reserve. For Olympiacos, 35-year-old Youssef El-Araby, an older player, is responsible for the goals, but continues to hold the bar of 15+ goals. Larsson will have to beat their competition to start with, which is not a certainty
The scenario of a move to Celtic or Olympiacos is quite consistent with Larsson’s level. Suffice it to recall how Alex Kral and Nikola Vlasic have performed in the APL. The former is familiar with Jordan from his time at Spartak, and while the Czech played a leading role for the Moscow team, he proved himself as a regular runner-up at West Ham and quickly fell out of the starting lineup.
Vlasic struggled with the Swedish striker for the league’s top scorer in the 2020/2021 season. But, having also moved to West Ham, he got lost – scoring only once in 19 games. The level of the internationals who are showing themselves brightly in Russia is still not equal to the championships of England, Italy, Germany, Spain or France.
Now Larsson has the opportunity to start over – even if not in such a strong championship. It is worth taking advantage of it – it will be harder with the start of the season. And it’s not certain that the more established teams will pay attention to the player now.