Chelsea battle to keep Bertrand Traoré after teenager excels in Asia

 

Jakarta

There is anxiety at Chelsea that they could lose the exceptional 17-year-old midfielder Bertrand Traoré over the next six weeks before they are able to hand the teenager a professional  contract on his 18th birthday in September.

The Burkina Faso international scored his second goal of the club’s Asia tour on Thursday night in Jakarta, a spectacular left-foot shot from the inside right channel. Yet afterwards, club officials tried to stop Chelsea players even discussing Traoré, claiming he was a “triallist” and attempting to divert attention away from the youngster.

Under Fifa regulations, Chelsea  cannot give the player a professional contract until he is 18 on 6 September, in accordance with the rule that prohibits international transfers for  non-European Union players until that age. Yet it would appear that Traoré “the triallist” has been at Chelsea for some time, at least as early as September 2011. He is in the United Kingdom on a student visa.

The concern for Chelsea is that the teenager, who has had an association with Auxerre in the past, is effectively a free agent. Chelsea are in the process of applying for a Home Office work permit for him, although they are not convinced they will succeed. If that is the case they would not yet be able to offer him first-team football and he could theoretically be persuaded to sign for another European club when he turns 18 on the basis they could fast-track him into the first team.

Traoré was first scouted by Premier League clubs when playing as a  14-year-old for Burkina Faso at the Under-17 World Cup finals in Nigeria in 2009. In an interview he gave to the BBC in January 2011 he mentioned an interest from Chelsea. He said then: “I like Chelsea because we have Africans there – [Didier] Drogba, [Michael] Essien, [John] Obi [Mikel].”

Traoré has a brother, Alain, 25, who plays for Lorient having previously been at Auxerre. Both brothers were in the squad for Burkina Faso at last year’s African Cup of Nations. Jose Mourinho has talked openly about how highly he rates Traoré and selected him from a large pool of academy and Under-21s players to make up the numbers of his Asia tour squad.

The Chelsea and England defender Gary Cahill said that Traoré had taken his chance well.  He said: “I don’t know the ins and outs of the situation, but he’s certainly done himself no harm in the two weeks we’ve been here. It’s too early to say he’s ready to do this and that, and we don’t want to get  carried away, but he’s certainly not looked out of place in training alongside some top international players. He’s a young lad but I’m sure he’s got a bright future at Chelsea.”

The young players in the squad, Nathaniel Chalobah, Josh McEachran and Lucas Piazon, will all now go on loan while Islam Feruz returns to play for the Under-21s. Tomorrow, Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, David Luiz, Oscar, Cesar Azpilicueta and John Obi Mikel join up with Mourinho’s squad, who fly to the United States on Tuesday.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before