The Spain Under-21 international becomes the fifth new signing at Molineux this summer ahead of their return to the Premier League, and after seeing an initial £12m offer for him turned down, Wolves decided to activate his release clause and secure him to a long-term deal.
The 22-year-old becomes the most expensive player in Wolves’ history, eclipsing the £15.8m that they paid for Portuguese midfielder Ruben Neves last summer, and he follows Rui Patricio, Jonny Castro Otto, Joao Moutinho and Raul Jimenez in deciding to join the Midlands club.
Having come through the Barcelona academy, Traore joined Aston Villa in 2015 for a season before moving to Boro – then in the Premier League. But he struggled to make an impact at the Riverside in his first year there, making 31 appearances as they were relegated to the Championship, but he starred for the club last season as he scored five times in 34 league appearances to help the club reach the play-offs and claim the Player of the Year in the process.
Traore’s return to the top flight comes in time for this weekend’s opening Premier League fixture with Everton, and sees Wolves take their spending this summer beyond the £60m barrier when transfer fees paid from last season’s loan signings that have made their moves permanent in Diogo Jota, Willy Boly, Benik Afobe and Leo Bonatini are taken into account – although Afobe has already been moved on the Stoke City for a profit.
Traore also leaves Middlesbrough with the blessing of manager Tony Pulis, who labelled him his “best buddy” following his up-turn in form after the Welshman’s arrival last season. Having agreed to sell both club captain Ben Gibson and Traore for a combined £33m, Pulis is hoping to invest in his promotion-chasing squad ahead of Thursday’s transfer window deadline.
“Adama was my best buddy so to lose him is really difficult,” Pulis said after Tuesday’s 3-0 victory over Sheffield United. “When I came to the club he looked a little bit sullen and didn’t have any confidence but at the end he played with a smile on his face and excited a lot of people.
“I hope the supporters understand that ambition to get in the Premier League. You could say, ‘stay here and get us in the Premier League’ but that’s not the way the world works. I wish the two of them (Traore and Gibson) all the best. I had a chat with Gibbo yesterday and a good chat with Adama and I hope they’re both successful at their new clubs.
“We did offer Adama a contract, a very good contract, but he wants to stretch himself.”
Traore has gained the adulation of Middlesbrough fans with his performances last season, and to reward their support he made the kind gesture to leave 50 signed shirts to season ticket holders who will be drawn at random, along with a message of thanks.
“I want to say thank you to all the fans,” Traore said in a farewell video. “Thank you for all your support over these two seasons. It’s a sad day for both of us but I need to follow my dream. Thank you for everything, for the support and I will always support the Boro. I will pray for the best this season and I hope they get in the Premier League. Thank you again and maybe I will see you again.”
With Pulis active in the transfer market, Boro are understood to be looking at Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter, who looking at alternative options in order to secure himself first-team football, and remain interested in a permanent move for Everton winger Yannick Bolasie, who could cost around £15m just two years after moving to Goodison Park in a £26m deal.
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