I’ll state straight away, although Adama Traore showed significant improvement in 2017/18 for Middlesbrough given what I saw, parts of his game continued to lack the basic elements of team-work and although his attacking play was more productive – it was still very much head down and sprint.
That said a return of five goals and ten assists across the campaign as Tony Pulis unimaginatively worked them into a Play-Off spot shouldn’t be sniffed at.
The 22-year-old has long been the subject of speculation this summer given the improvement he did show last term and that has carried with it the obligatory ‘sell on fee’ for us that was reportedly built into his transfer deal as he swapped Villa Park for the Riverside Stadium with Albert Adomah making the return journey.
With our recent financial troubles, such a windfall would now come in incredibly useful for us, but he’s being linked with Paris Saint-Germain and maybe it’s me, but I can’t see that happening just yet given his development.
Arab News have reported that PSG have identified him as an option owing to a release clause of £18million. The benefit for them is they see his arrival as being a means to an end when it comes to their own stated Financial Fair Play problems as they seek to come into compliance with UEFA and presumably Traore will provide an option, cover and allow them to cash in elsewhere – Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler are namechecked as possible departures.
I suppose from that sense this could have legs, after all, Di Maria is hardly known for his tracking back but he does have more than one good season under his belt when it comes to his contribution.
The report also talks about purchasing him but initially transferring him to a Qatar Stars League club before he rejoined PSG on loan or at a discounted fee – similar to the convoluted arrangement that saw Frank Lampard sign for New York City before being loaned to Manchester City.
If that’s not against the spirit of UEFA’s FFP I don’t what would be!
Guess we’ll just have to wait and see on this one, but the cash injection our end wouldn’t go amiss and would ease some pressures and concerns.