West Ham United are keen on signing Chelsea forward Bertrand Traore, who is currently on loan with Ajax
The Hammers are reportedly looking to sign the £17 million-rated Burkina Faso international on a temporary basis for the upcoming season and would even be willing to sign him permanently, if Chelsea are open to the move according to Darren Lewis of The Mirror.
West Ham are said to be big admirers of the 21-year-old, who has had a good season out on loan with Eredivisie giants Ajax. He made a total of 39 appearances for de Godenzonen, over the course of which he scored 13 goals and registered 9 assists.
Over the course of the season, he was used in both the right-wing and center forward by manager Peter Bosz and he shone in both, eventually finishing as the club’s third highest goal-scorer for the season, behind Kasper Dolberg and Davy Klassen.
He was an integral part of the season as he helped Ajax finish second in the Eredivisie, only a point behind Champions Feyenoord and also to the finals of the UEFA Europa League, which they eventually lost to Manchester United.
The Hammers, who have also been linked with Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho, are hunting for a talented young striker who can help hold down in the fort in the event of injuries to Andy Carroll & Andre Ayew and will be desperate to avoid a repeat of last season.
With regard to that, Traore’s profile matches perfectly with what West Ham are looking for. He is no stranger to the English game, having scored 4 goals and gotten an assist for Chelsea in the 2015/16 season in 16 appearances, only 4 of which he started.
Strong, quick and with a good eye for goal, he can only improve going forward and his versatility is something Bilic would cherish in his squad. It is widely expected that he will be loaned out by Chelsea again next season in a bid to build on this season, which bodes well for United.
However, Slaven Bilic’s side will face competition from Everton, who want the 21-year-old in exchange for Romelu Lukaku, who is expected to return to Stamford Bridge in one of the biggest transfers of the summer and this gives the Toffees the upper hand.
There is every chance that Traore may convince Antonio Conte to retain him at Stamford Bridge and with Diego Costa confirming that he is in the hunt for another club, Chelsea wouldn’t want to let players go without first ensuring they have replacements.
Besides, a good pre-season with the Italian can do wonders for a player’s reputation, as was made clear by Victor Moses’ surprise inclusion in the squad post the start of the 2016/17 season and subsequent meteoric rise to prominence in the Chelsea starting XI.