Ivory Coast has produced a few of the biggest and most entertaining footballers of recent occasions. From Didier Drogba to Yaya Touré, the West African nation is an actual 21st century soccer hotbed.
In addition to being residence to distinctive world-class skills, there’s additionally an everyday emergence of potential stars who give hope for the way forward for Les Éléphants on the world stage.
One of many newest wonderkids to indicate his face in Europe is midfielder Hamed Junior Traorè, who has already been lighting up the Italian leagues.
He stays comparatively below the radar when in comparison with different much-hyped teenage stars, but when he continues his present trajectory, he’ll taking part in for certainly one of Europe’s prime golf equipment sooner somewhat than later.
One purpose he won’t showing on too many hot-prospect lists is his lack of output relating to the essential stats—targets and assists.
On prime of this, his most up-to-date switch noticed him make a transfer from Empoli to Sassuolo, which was hardly a headline-making transfer, and merely made certain he remained in Serie A because the Tuscan facet had been relegated after being promoted from Serie B a season earlier.
At worldwide degree the Abidjan-born midfielder solely has 4 U23 caps to his identify to date, and at membership degree solely six targets and three assists in his senior profession thus far.
So what’s it that makes Traoré stand out from the group?
One of the crucial telling measures of the 20-year-old’s expertise, or not less than his potential, is that the perfect workforce in Serie A and perennial European Cup challengers, Juventus, stay among the many golf equipment considering securing his providers. The Bianconeri aren’t normally considering common gamers.
After a season with Empoli within the Italian prime flight, having performed some half in serving to them get promoted the yr earlier than, Traoré alerted plenty of golf equipment together with Juventus, but additionally Fiorentina, who he very almost joined on a everlasting deal.
A transfer to La Viola was all however secured in January 2019 and was presupposed to be accomplished on the finish of the 2018/19 season, however it fell via on the final minute on account of an issue submitting the contract when the deal was initially put collectively.
“I’m embarrassed,” Empoli president Fabrizio Corsi advised Radio Sportiva of the saga.
“In current months I’ve tried to hide this case as a lot as potential out of respect for Fiorentina.
“However the signed paperwork weren’t deposited by 31 January and due to this fact they aren’t price something anymore. Fiorentina had requested for a complement of medical visits, we did them and the participant is completely wholesome.”
This left the door open for different golf equipment to take benefit, and in the summertime of 2019, with Juventus protecting a eager eye on proceedings, Traoré finally moved on mortgage to Sassuolo for 2 seasons, with Juve having an unofficial first-option to buy his contract outright.
Sassuolo even have an choice to make the deal everlasting on the finish of the second yr of the mortgage deal, however by this time there are more likely to be plenty of golf equipment considering his signature.
Such pre-planned contract preparations seem to go away Traoré a bit restricted as to which workforce he joins subsequent, however one other season creating with common sport time at Sassuolo needs to be simply what he wants within the short-term.
Hamed Junior and his brother Amad, at present with Atalanta, have additionally attracted curiosity from Arsenal amongst different golf equipment throughout the continent.
Thus far solely narrative. What’s he like at soccer?
Throughout his senior profession thus far Traoré has performed both as an attacking midfielder or a box-to-box central midfielder. He’s a right-footed participant however will not be afraid to make use of his left when required.
Given his attributes, it’s straightforward to think about him taking part in anyplace via the center, from defensive midfielder to a striker, however it’s between these two roles he’s more likely to discover his ft.
As a participant who can do a little bit of every thing, he may very well be greatest utilised in one of many extra attacking central midfield positions.
Right here he can function as both the box-to-box participant in a two-man midfield, or because the No. 10 forward of them.
In a midfield three he could be supreme as a free-eight, typically becoming a member of the entrance line in addition to working in deeper areas ought to the circulate of the sport require, whether or not that be in defence or assault.
Traoré has an actual drive via midfield, as proven under, and has dribbling skill to go along with his creativity.
Since shifting to Sassuolo he has turn into extra productive in each space, not less than in an attacking sense.
Taking a look at his numbers per 90 minutes, he now makes an attempt and completes extra dribbles, makes extra key passes, and is now an everyday nook taker as his supervisor, Roberto De Zerbi, places religion in his skill to ship a lifeless ball. 5 of his 21 key passes this season have been from nook kicks.
His defensive output has dropped, however this could be on account of working extra recurrently in superior positions, as proven by the heat-maps under (from SofaScore), somewhat than any decline in his skill to carry out defensive actions.
His involvement in aerial duels additionally dropped from 2.1 per 90 minutes to 0.7, however standing at 5 foot eight this isn’t certainly one of his strengths anyway, solely successful 28% of his aerial duels throughout that 2018/19 season.
When commenting on curiosity from Juventus within the 2019 summer time switch window, Empoli president Corsi heaped reward on his facet’s younger prodigy, and additional fuelled the concept that the Outdated Girl has first dibs.
“Will Traore go to Juventus? The cope with them is within the pipeline, there are solely signatures (lacking) however there’s a verbal settlement and every thing is outlined,” he stated in an interview with Tutto Mercato.
“In January, he was already a participant with nice potential, however the final 5 months have given us a participant of significance, a prospect: for prime groups this can be a complementary participant.
“I feel he’s destined for an important profession as a result of as we speak, he’s solely at 70-80% of his technical and bodily qualities, however he has a unprecedented intelligence and can quickly fill this hole.”
Corsi’s phrases sum up Traoré effectively. A mixture of physique, approach, and intelligence which ought to imply Champions League golf equipment quickly come calling, and that he turns into the most recent Ivorian prodigy to symbolize the nationwide workforce at senior degree.
Whether or not he can attain the heights of Ivory Coast’s modern-day greats, stays to be seen, however the uncooked supplies are there.