In what would turn out to be a somewhat surprising move, Chelsea have reportedly approached Middleborough over the availability of their 20-year-old winger Adama Traoré.
A youth product of La Masia, Traoré moved to Aston Villa in 2015, but failed to find his feet and make an impact, as they were relegated. In the summer of 2016 Traoré made the switch to Middlesbrough and has since registered some strong performances.
So far this season, Traoré has made 14 appearances in the league for Aitor Karanka’s side, but is yet to either assist a goal or score one. However, despite this, Traoré has caused a buzz on social media with some of his performances.
Away at Arsenal in particular, Traoré proved to be a troublemaker down the right-hand side for Nacho Monreal, who was beaten for pace by his Spanish compatriot on more than one occasion.
With Middlesbrough struggling down at 16th place in the league, and with the lowest goals scored (17) this season, perhaps Traoré’s low numbers aren’t an indication of his own ability, but a symptom of being part of a goal-shy squad.
The question remains, though. Why do Chelsea want Traoré? Well, after having sold midfielders Oscar and John Obi Mikel, Conte is perhaps looking to add depth, as he perseveres in his bid to win the league in his first season at the club.
Speaking on Chelsea’s interest, Karanka said: “If a team like Chelsea is following Adama, it’s because his progression has been brilliant in six months and he’s doing well.”
If he were to join Chelsea, Traoré could add a new option on the right-hand side at either wing-back, to ease the burden on Victor Moses, or for Willian and Pedro in the attacking trident up top.
A vital point to also consider with Traoré is also his age and footballing upbringing. At just 20, Traoré has a long way to go, but for a player so young, he looks physically well developed and his Barçelona background will have undoubtedly given him an extensive knowledge of the game and intelligent attitude for his future.
With his addition, Chelsea could mould a long-term replacement for Moses in the right wing-back position, as they try to create a lasting dynasty under Conte.