French side Olympique Lyonnais are monitoring on-loan Chelsea striker Bertrand Traore at Ajax
After officially joining Chelsea in January 2014, Traore was loaned out to Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem, like many Chelsea loanees before him. He impressed with the Dutch side, making 15 appearances and getting 3 goals in all competitions and it was decided that he would stay with them through the 2014/15 season.
He would go on to score a stunning 18 goals and register 7 assists for them in all competitions that season and after being given a work permit to ply his trade in England, then manager Jose Mourinho welcomed him into the Chelsea senior squad.
During what was a difficult campaign, Traore was one of the few positives for Chelsea. Under Guus Hiddink’s management, he scored 5 goals and got an assist in 18 appearances that season, out of which he started in only 4.
It was widely expected that he would feature more this season after have an impressive debut season at Stamford Bridge and he was rewarded with a contract extension until 2019. But he was surprisingly loaned out to Ajax in the summer after Chelsea signed Michy Batshuayi.
According to Goal.com, the 21-year-old is being monitored by Ligue 1 giants Olympique Lyonnais. Their head of recruitment Florian Maurice, was reportedly in attendance, hoping to watch Traore in action during Ajax’s Europa League victory against Greek side Panathinaikos, but the Burkina Faso native spent the entirety of the match on the bench.
They had previously scouted him during Ajax’s match against AZ Alkmaar where he got on the scoresheet in a 2-2 draw.
Having only signed a new contract in August, it is unlikely that the Blues will let such an exciting talent leave for cheap. The report states that Conte actually considered keeping Traore after pre-season, but later decided to let him leave.
In hindsight, it was the correct thing to do, given that the Italian now sets his side up in a 3-4-3 formation with Diego Costa as the lone striker up front. The Spaniard has been in scintillating form, scoring 10 goals in 14 games so far.
As a result, second-choice striker Michy Batshuayi has barely featured for the Blues, with only 2 starts that have come in the EFL Cup and it likely that Traore would’ve seen lesser of the pitch had he stuck around.
His versatility does allow him to play on either flank and as an attacking midfielder, but with Hazard, Pedro, Oscar and Willian all ahead of him in the pecking order, his development would have severely been stalled and a loan move abroad for the season seemed like the best possible move.
With 5 goals and 4 assists in all competitions in 18 appearances this season, the youngster has slowly begun to find his feet at the Amsterdam Arena and if he keeps going at this rate, he could surely give Conte something to think about at the end of the season.