Thursday, February 2, 2023

Should Chelsea Have Held On To This Exciting Attacker This Season?

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Aakarsh Bommakanti
Was diving around lush green grass not so long ago but my keyboard is all I have now. An avid observer of detail in sports with a passion to make myself heard. Can find me playing on a field if not in front of my screen.

Antonio Conte’s first big test in England will be a London derby at the Stamford Bridge against Slaven Bilic’s West Ham side on Monday. However, the Chelsea manager still has some work to do in the transfer window as he looks to add some mettle to his attack and sends players who deserve game-time out on loan to clubs in and outside the country. One such player who is currently on the verge of sealing a loan deal to Netherlands is 20-year old Chelsea starlet Bertrand Traoré. Recent reports in Holland have suggested that Traoré has finished his move to Ajax, a Dutch outfit, in a bid to realize his potential before breaking into Chelsea’s first team.

The Burkina Faso international moved to the Chelsea youth squad in 2013 and spent a season on loan at Vitesse where he managed to score 17 goals in 48 appearances before moving back to Chelsea last season. He was a part of the Blues squad last season but was not able to find a place in the starting XI in any of the games for Chelsea (making just 3 substitute appearances in FA Cup games) and thus having no chance to prove himself. However, with Antonio Conte now in-charge, it looks like the former Italian boss has seen enough promise to send him out on a loan and hope that he comes back as an even better player.

Conte, though, is still in the market for a top-class striker and there are a few eyebrows raised as to why Traoré could not have been used as an understudy for Michy Batshuayi and Diego Costa, the two senior strikers at the club. The 20-year old is a smart player who knows his way around the goal. He is an exquisite finisher with a unique ability to find the net even from long ranges. He is an excellent passer who helps his team’s build-up play in the final third while his dribbling abilities make him that much harder to track. He is comfortable playing on the right side of the attack and feeds off his main striker as he likes to cut inside and create chances for his side. He is equally adept, as already mentioned, in scoring goals making him a huge threat in front of goal.

Though he would not have been a match winner, Traoré would have been a genuine addition to the Chelsea squad that provides a bit of dynamism for the manager to use during tough times. At his age, he still has to learn a thing or two about top class European football but with more game time under his belt, he can be a deadly striker in years to come. So there is hardly any reason for Conte to send him away on a loan. The manager is ready to spend a fortune on getting the likes of Romelu Lukaku back into the squad but he may have a player who has equal or more caliber in his own backyard in Traoré. And Conte may just have shipped him off for the Dutch this summer.

Conte is still in the market for another striker and if does not manage to get a decent one to sign for the club from now till the end of the transfer window, the decision to let Traoré on loan may just come back to haunt him later in the season. Do you think Chelsea should have kept hold of Bertrand Traoré this summer?

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