The Bertrand Traoré Deal
Sky Sports are reporting that Aston Villa have had a bid of £17m for Bertrand Traoré accepted by Lyon. It’s reported that the Burkina Faso international winger is due for a medical this coming week and will be announced after Villa unveil Emiliano Martinez.
The recently turned 25-year-old, has the kind of pace that Dean Smith has been increasingly looking to inject into his team.
Villa coach John Terry would have known Traoré during his time at Chelsea, before he made his switch to Lyon in 2017. He had spent most of his time on loan, while with the London club, having stints at both Vitesse and Ajax.
After a couple of decent seasons at Lyon, Traoré has been constantly linked with a move back to the Premier League, with the likes of Everton, Spurs, Southampton and West Ham, all in the mix for him.
A year ago, Everton were being linked with a £25m move for the winger, so Villa’s mooted fee is a reflection on the recent rather patchy season he had with Lyon.
Bertrand Traoré fell from favour for Lyon during the 2019/20 season. He was frozen out of the French club’s thrilling Champions League run to the semi-finals and his missed penalty in penalty shoot-out of the Coupe de la Ligue Final that gifted the cup to PSG, after coming on as an 80 minute substitute, was symbolic of his season’s fortunes.
Traoré still has age on his side though and a move to Villa could be just the tonic in terms of re-focusing his career.
Watching Aston Villa’s friendly win against Manchester United on Saturday, while a decent run out for what largely will be Dean Smith’s first XI, there remained a feeling that Villa were lacking any ‘X’ factor from their bench.
United did run the midfield for large patches of the game and when you looked beyond what was on the pitch for Villa, there was little Smith could turn to, to change the picture and give United something fresh to think about.
A chief need is pace down the flanks. While Cash will now add some to the right flank from deep, and the lively Ollie Watkins will be able to run the channels, some out-and-out attacking pace on the wings would be a big addition to improve Villa’s attacking arsenal.
An upgrade on the flanks would also give Smith more licence to reconsider Jack Grealish’s role as a number 10.
Supposed Villa transfer target Werder Bremen winger Milot Rashica was thought to be that man, and while he still could be, it’s looking suspiciously like the Kosovar international may just become the new Hiroshi Kiyotake. Remember him? Another German Bundesliga player, that the Villa Twitterati obsessed over, as he grew into a clickbait poster boy that never set foot in Villa Park.
The fact that the Rashica deal hasn’t been wrapped up, despite all the speculation, tends to lead you to that conclusion at the moment.
Certainly if Villa bought in Rashica AND Traoré, Smith will certainly have some real options and it will create healthy competition for Anwar El Ghazi and Trezeguet. But with the mumurs of Villa’s FFP calculations over the last three years, that include Championship seasons, compromising the club’s wage structure – is it realistic to get both in?
Or is the reality, it’s one or the other? Rashica and Bremen stalled, so with the Premier League season about to kick-off for Villa, the club opted for Traoré?
No doubt the picture will become clearer this coming week.