Adama Traore to Barcelona: Winger divided opinion at Wolves but his impact should not be underestimated

Adama Traore is returning to where it all began, almost literally. He was born in the hospital situated next to the old La Masia campus just a trademark dribble away from the Camp Nou. He joined the club at eight, left at 19. Now, initially on loan from Wolves, he is home.

Back after six-and-a-half years in England, opinion is still divided. For some, he is a unique talent, a dribbler like nobody else in the world game. For others, his gifts remain alarmingly underdeveloped for a man who turned 26 years old earlier this week.

It is always the way with Traore. The focus is on what he cannot do and the player he could become if he started doing it. That scrutiny will only be exacerbated back in Barcelona as he prepares to add to his solitary appearance in La Liga – as a substitute for Neymar at 17.

Much has changed in eight years but Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique are still there. Xavi Hernandez is the coach, the man looking to rebuild with academy talent. Technically, Traore is a graduate himself. But he has been bought because of the player he already is.

You will have seen the criticism; the statistics that show he has scored eight Premier League goals in 160 appearances. It is a scoring record far inferior to that of Pique, almost identical, in fact, to Clement Lenglet’s return in La Liga. They are defenders, not wingers.

Such a record is used to justify the popular view of Traore that despite his awesome pace, those greased muscles and the low centre of gravity, it counts for little without end product.

Racing away from five opponents as he did when running half the length of the field against Aston Villa earlier this season is, they say, an irrelevance when he cannot deliver the finish.


Title: Adama Traore to Barcelona: Winger divided opinion at Wolves but his impact should not be underestimated
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Published Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2022 12:30:00 GMT

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