It seems Chelsea may be targeting a player from a Premier League club to strengthen their wide options, and it’s not someone you may have guessed.
According to Sky Sources, Chelsea have made an approach to Middlesbrough to ask about the availability of their winger Adama Traore.
The 20-year-old began his career at Barcelona and was originally brought to England by Aston Villa. This summer, following Villa’s relegation, Traore moved to Premier League Middlesbrough and has been one of the clubs most influential attacking players. His pace causes lots of problems for opposition defences and that is certainly something that will have attracted Antonio Conte to him.
Conte plays with wing backs and wingers, and it is possible that Traore could be an option in both of those roles. Although he is a more attacking player, Traore could follow in the footsteps of Moses and adapt to a more defensive position.
Chelsea were said to be looking for a couple of new wide players to add to their squad this month, and we recently brought you the news that they were considering moves for Michail Antonio and Jonas Hector.
With the news that Dimitri Payet wants to leave the club this month, I think there is no chance Slaven Bilic will part with Antonio this month, and that may explain why Chelsea appear to be interested in Traore, a possible alternative.
Traore has made 15 appearances for Boro this season, with 6 of them coming from the bench. He is yet to register a goal or assist in a Boro team that lacks a cutting edge moving forward.
Joining on deadline day, Traore reportedly cost Boro £7million, so Chelsea would probably have to pay more than that to convince Karanka to part with Traore, especially considering we are in the middle of the season.
Traore is unlikely to make a big difference in Chelsea’s title charge this year, as he is far from the finished product at this stage. But aged 20, he has the raw attributes to develop into a top level player. His pace and dribbling ability are certainly his most attractive traits and Conte may want to sign him purely to add another dimension to his attacking force.
If you consider that he hasn’t scored or assisted a goal this season, Conte may have him in mind to play as a wing back. His pace will help with defensive security and also stretching opposition defences with overlapping runs. Training with a squad of Chelsea’s calibre and working alongside a manager of Conte’s calibre, Traore’s technical ability would surely only improve.
Looking deeper into Traore’s statistics, there is one that really stands out. That is his dribbles per game which averages at a huge 5.2. His pace means he plays with a very direct style and that may suit Conte’s structured and efficient system. He is only dispossessed 1.6 times per game on average. His technical ability and reliability on the ball is a bit of a worry though, completing just 68.8% of his passes..
It’s an interesting move if it does happen. I would think that being in such a strong position to go and win the title, Conte’s focus should be on strengthening his squad in the short term. An extra injection of senior quality at this stage would make his team strong favourites for the title.
Someone like Antonio would be a better addition, but Traore is perhaps a more realistic one and he would certainly be cheaper. I’m interested to hear Chelsea fans thoughts on this one. Be sure to comment below or tweet us your thoughts @FreshFootball.