With the departure of Nuno Espirito Santo from Molineux, Bruno Lage is expected to oversee a turnover in the Wolves squad. So far this window, Rui Patricio (who had established himself as a club stalwart in the Premier League) departed to link up with Jose Mourinho at Roma and has been replaced by his international compatriot, Jose Sa. Other notable deals include the permanent signing of Rayan Aït Nouri, Yerson Mosuqera arriving from his native Colombia and the initial loan signing of Francisco Trincao.
The arrival of the highly-rated Trincao may enable another of Nuno’s success stories to leave the Midlands, Adama Traoré. After flattering to deceive with both Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, Wolves’ £18m purchase of the Spanish winger raised eyebrows across the Premier League. However, Traore’s four goals and nine assists across the 2019/20 season attracted the attention of European giants such as Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Liverpool and Barcelona.
When analysing Traoré, his strengths and weaknesses are clear to see. When compared to other attacking midfielders/wingers, he ranks in the 73rd percentile for shot-creating actions, the 96th percentile for progressive carries, the 98th percentile for aerials won and the 99th percentile for dribbles completed. Despite this, the Spaniard also sits below the 20th percentile for npxG, shots, attempted passes, pass completion, progressive passes, pressures and interceptions.
A visualisation of these metrics can be seen below.
This reveals that Traoré is an elite ball-carrier and aerial presence. The Spaniard is also an adept creator of chances, although the vast majority of these come through dribbles or drawing fouls. This is shown as he ranks poorly for his passing ability, in addition to offering little defensively.
Despite clear gaps in his game, Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United are said to be readying a £30m bid for the winger. Spurs have also been linked with a move this summer and Liverpool are still keeping tabs on the Wolves man. This represents a huge decline in asking price from just last season when Wolves were demanding a fee in the region of £80m to allow Traoré to depart.
However, £30m sits much closer to his actual market value, with our calculations valuing Traoré at £18.654m. With just two years remaining on his deal at Molineux, now is the perfect time for Wolves to cash in on one of their star players if they are unable to tie him down to a new deal. Therefore, which of these three could be a realistic next destination?
Well, if there is a man in world football who can round out Traoré’s game, it’s Marcelo Bielsa, so a move to Elland Road presents an interesting prospect. Leeds already have a large Spanish contingent within the club and they are known to be in the market for attacking reinforcements in both wide and central areas of the pitch. Traoré certainly fits that bill and as a proven Premier League performer, he’s expected to be a target for the Whites. However, following recent interest from Barcelona and Munich, persuading the player to move to Yorkshire could be a challenge.
Spurs’ interest in Traoré is also expected to be solid with the appointment of Nuno. As mentioned previously, the winger thrived under Nuno’s tutelage at Molineux and so the potential to be reunited with his former boss in North London is surely an exciting one for Traoré. Despite this, it remains to be seen how far Tottenham’s finances can stretch this window without the sale of Harry Kane. Financially, Tottenham were one of the hardest-hit clubs across Europe with the Coronavirus outbreak as they were unable to use matchday revenue to service the cost of their £1bn stadium. This was epitomised when the club took a £175m loan from the Bank of England to support them through the pandemic. Since opening in April 2019, they have only played 28 matches in front of fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. With Gollini, Romero and Gil all moving to London this summer, it remains to be seen whether Daniel Levy has any further left to dig in his pockets.
Liverpool’s interest is expected to be minimal in reality as they already have an abundance of talent in wide areas. In addition to the indispensable duo of Salah and Mane, the Reds also have Jota, Minamino, Elliot, Shaqiri, Ojo, Origi, Woodburn and Oxlade-Chamberlain who are capable of playing on either wing. Whilst Shaqiri and Origi are on the market and Ojo, Elliott and Woodburn may yet leave on loan, all of these players leaving the club before the end of the transfer window is unlikely. Without significant departures, reinforcements should not be expected.