According to various reports, Aston Villa are closing in on Lyon forward, Bertrand Traoré. The fee is believed to be in the region of around €19m with the player understood to be having his medical and work permit hearing in the next few days.
The reports go on to say that he will sign a four year deal and could become one, if not, Villa’s highest paid player. All speculation at this stage, of course but who is Bertrand Traoré?
Career so far
Traoré is a 25-year-old winger who can also play up front. I believe Villa will be signing him with one eye of playing in a front three. At the age of just 15, he made his debut for his national side, Burkina Faso, in a friendly match against Guinea.
Despite reports that Traoré signed for Chelsea in 2010, rejecting Manchester United in the process, he didn’t officially join them until January 2014, some four years later. The following day he was sent to one of Chelsea’s affiliate teams, Vitesse where he spent two years on loan.
During his spell playing in the Eredvisie he scored 20 goals in 51 appearances. The impressive performances attracted interest from Ajax where he spent the 2016-17 season on loan. The move reunited him with former Vitesse manager, Peter Bosz.
Despite 13 goals in 38 appearances for Ajax, some sections of the media started to question his attitude. To the extent, Bosz came out publicly stating that there was “nothing wrong with his attitude, but his form is not good”.
In June 2017, he made his move from Chelsea permanent but by returning to France, when he signed for Lyon for a reported €8.8M. Chelsea apparently inserted a buy-back clause in the deal and will receive 15% of any profit Lyon make on any future sale.
Traoré has scored 33 goals in 125 appearances during his three year spell with Lyon. His best season game during his first campaign where he scored 18 of those goals.
Is he any anygood?
Honestly, I don’t know. He is another player to come through Chelsea’s academy, a academy that has been criticised for stock piling potential talent by a number of football pundits in the past.
I have seen some Lyon supporters criticise his attitude but I am sure many of us will remember their fans doing similar to a certain John Carew and we all know how that turned out. One thing Dean Smith has always stated is that he wants hungry players with something to prove – I can’t imagine Traoré signing for Villa if he has this attitude problem going by the kind of player we are apparently interested in.
Tranfermarkt value him at around £8.5M which would suggest we are paying almost double his market value. This isn’t something unusual however, especially if Lyon didn’t plan on selling him. Villa must believe they can improve him and create a re-sell value should they need too.
Traoré’s who scored characteristics aren’t too shabby either. They note that passing, dribbling, set pieces and holding on to the ball are strengths of the forward. His offside awareness is a weakness. While they go on to say that he likes to cut inside and lay the ball off for others.
As with all signings, Bertrand Traoré is a gamble but he is someone who knows what the Premier League is about. In fact, it may work to Villa’s favour as he proves those who doubted him at Chelsea.