Everton face a huge transfer blow in their pursuit of long-term target Bertrand Traore as reports emerge of former Ligue 1 giants AS Lyon closing in on the Chelsea man, who has hogged much of the limelight following his sizzling season with Ajax Amsterdam.
The 21-year-old forward has played a significant role in the Dutch side’s successful domestic campaign that ended with a loss in the Europa League final against Manchester United. He has returned to Stamford Bridge and numerous clubs, which include London side West Ham United too, have already queued outside the office to secure his services.
Everton are one of the emerging sides in the Premier League now, and their decent finish in the league last season followed by savvy transfer moves this summer reflects that aptly. Under Ronald Koeman, the Toffees have regained their confidence and structure, which was seen under David Moyes.
And to further help their cause, owner Farhad Moshiri’s commitment towards the club makes them one of the bigger players in the transfer market now. One of the major voids that Everton desperately need filling is their right flank. The long-term injury to Yannick Bolasie followed by the sudden mental condition that developed at the end of the season has left Koeman seriously thin in that area.
And Traore could be one of the long-term options in that role alongside England’s newest sensation Ademola Lookman. In Ajax, the Burkina Faso international has been a fan favourite among the young stars, scoring 13 goals and providing six assists. He broke into the fore with his eye-catching Europa League displays where he was directly involved in eight goals in 13 games.
Chelsea are en route to a major revamp to the squad with Antonio Conte looking to add his priorities this summer that could see most title-winners moving away from the club. Traore at 21 is definitely not seeing himself in the Italian boss’ plans next season. While Everton have been one of the firm favourites to land him so long, Lyon’s participation changes the equation.
An academy product of AJ Auxerre, Traore was picked up by Chelsea when he was playing for the U-19s in 2013. Breaking into the Blues first team in 2014 meant he was sent on loan to Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem. An impressive season there where he scored 20 goals and assisted seven times in two seasons caught Ajax’s attention.
Traore has already earned 38 caps for the country making his debut as early as a 16-year-old in 2011. He has already scored five goals for the country and is touted by many as their next big thing.
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