Chelsea’s new signing Bertrand Traore is regarded as one of Africa’s most talented young players. The Burkinabe has been a full international since the age of 15 and at 18 years old, he is already an established player in a national side which came within 90 minutes of qualifying for this summer’s World Cup.
Traore played for the Blues as a triallist on their pre-season tour of south-east Asia and put in some revelatory performances, scoring two excellent goals and dazzling the crowds with his spectacular array of tricks to beat a man.
His mature displays prompted Gary Cahill to enthuse: “He’s certainly not looked out of place among some top international players. He’s composed on the ball and has great confidence for such a young lad.”
Jose Mourinho is also known to be an admirer of the young midfielder. It was he who decided to take Traore on the pre-season tour after being impressed by DVD footage of the youngster’s performances in academy matches for the Blues.
Traore is strong and quick, confident and technically adroit on the ball, and as his exploits in south-east Asia demonstrate, he can certainly finish with aplomb. Despite his young age, he is tactically sound and composed in possession, equally adept at holding and distributing the ball.
Perhaps surprisingly, the only question marks over Traore concern his fitness. Former Burkina Faso manager Paulo Duarte believes the player must improve this facet of his game to succeed in the fast-paced environment of the Premier League.
Whilst it is too early to say what type of midfielder Traore may ultimately evolve into, some within Stamford Bridge have drawn comparisons with Frank Lampard due to Traore’s intelligent use of the ball and considerable goal threat.
Traore’s older brother Alain is an attacking midfielder who plays for French club Lorient, and has been tracked by Arsenal and Newcastle. Before he suffered a serious thigh injury last year, the elder Traore was an influential player at Le Moustoir, notching up six goals and five assists in 14 appearances last season.
Chelsea will hope that, in time, his younger brother make the same sort of impact at Stamford Bridge.
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