Transfer Talk: Speedy winger Traore could be set for quick exit
Tottenham and West Ham are reportedly set to battle it out for Adama Traore this January.
When on form, the Wolves winger is one of the Premier League’s most explosive players but has struggled for consistency for much of his career.
The 25-year-old made a telling impact off the bench in Wolves’ impressive victory over Manchester United on Monday, though that may not be enough to see him stay at Molineux.
The Midlands outfit are believed to be contemplating offers for the Spaniard as they look to raise funds for incomings, valuing him at £20million.
With the right coaching and team approach, the former Barcelona man has the potential to become a lethal force.
We look at what Traore would bring to his potential suitors.
When Traore hits top speed, there is little chance of stopping him.
The winger thrives in bursting past opponents with ease by using his blistering pace and natural strength.
He has put teams to the sword on multiple occasions during his four-year spell at Wolves, where the winger has at times looked capable of rising to the very top of the game.
Last season, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp — who has been linked with a move for Traore in the past — described the Wolves flyer as "undefendable".
It has seemed that fouling him is the most effective way of preventing Traore from flying past, so much so that the ex-Middlesbrough man is often spotted rubbing oil on his arms before games so that defenders cannot grab onto him.
But that immense talent makes his lack of effectiveness in front of goal all the more frustrating.
While he made an impact in Wolves’ famous victory at Old Trafford, Traore is yet to register a goal or assist this season.
All in all, he has just seven goals and 14 assists in 158 Premier League appearances, with the majority of those coming during his most fruitful season in the 2019-20 campaign.
Despite having his partner in crime Raul Jimenez, who he combined with eight times during that run, back in the side his impact has continued to wane.
He looked back to his best during five consecutive league starts at the beginning of the season, but he has since largely been used as an impact substitute.
Predominantly a right-sided player previously, manager Bruno Lage has used Traore equally as much on the left this term in an attempt to eke more goals out of the speedster.
After a bright appearance off the bench earlier this season against Crystal Palace, Lage publicly called for the winger to show more consistency.
The Portuguese boss said: "I would like to see from Adama what he did in the first three games, and what I saw in the last two weeks.
"He’s the kind of player who, when you have the ball, can do something special.
"But I want more Adama during the game, not just when you have the ball. He needs to be there more times in the game."
Premier League admirers
Despite his current drought, Traore has plenty of Premier League interest.
Spurs were linked with a move under former boss Nuno Espirito Santo and that continues to be the case under Antonio Conte, with managing director Fabio Paratici believed to be a keen admirer.
The 3-4-3 formation that Conte has implemented since arriving in North London is a system Traore thrived in under Nuno.
In this structure, he could feature back on his favoured right flank alongside Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son, which would be a tantalizing front three if they manage to click.
He could also be deployed at right wing-back, where he has played before at Wolves and a role which would allow him freedom to take players on from wide positions.
West Ham are the latest team to be thrown into the mix, where he would join a close-knit and thriving group under David Moyes.
Wingers Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma have been two of the Hammers’ stars this season and there is no reason to suggest Traore would not have a similar impact under Moyes’ tutelage.
Despite being in and out of the Wolves team this season, Traore impressively still ranks highest in the Premier League for take-ons completed with 81 so far.
That suggests there is a dangerous weapon there waiting to be unleashed, which could well be done by shrewd operators Conte and Moyes.
What is next?
But he could also stay with Wolves, who are also working under an impressive manager in Lage.
An unknown quantity at the start of the season, the Portuguese has them in eighth place, with their win at Old Trafford forcing many to sit up and take notice.
The winger’s introduction on 66 minutes proved to have a decisive impact in turning Wolves’ good performance into a victory after his dribble and cross allowed Joao Moutinho to fire home the winner.
But, much like Traore, finding the net has been Wolves’ biggest concern and Lage may decide moving his asset on would allow him to bring in a proven goalscorer.
Whether Lage decides to stick or twist, Traore’s manager will know they have a gem on their hands.
As has so often been the case during his time in England, converting Traore’s talent into goals and assists will be their biggest challenge.