On the Field
Before going out on loan last season, Traoré was struggling to become a team sheet regular because of his play on the pitch. Traoré is an elite dribbler, who oftentimes is one of the strongest and fastest players on the pitch. The rare blend of abilities results in plays that leave Premier League defenders doing anything they can to take him to the ground. The caveat is, the same jaw-dropping plays lead to some of the most frustrating moments of Traoré’s time at Wolves.
For all the clips of Traoré leaving three defenders behind him, his goal and assist totals are very low. According to Fbref, he is in the 97th percentile for attackers in progressive carries and 75th in shot-creating actions, yet he is only in the 8th percentile for non-penalty goals, averaging 0.05 per 90 minutes. The lack of goals scored could be overlooked if he boasted high assist totals but he only has four assists in his last 64 appearances in all competitions for the club.
In previous seasons, Traoré was dangerous when using his speed down the flanks to create crossing opportunities but his play style has seemingly changed. In the first half of last season, Traoré only attempted 28 crosses in total (on pace for his lowest in his time at Wolves) and had his highest shots per 90 number of his Wolves career (per FBref). This coincides with the head injury to striker Raul Jiminez, which led to Traoré cutting inside more often to create chances for himself.
On the other hand, Wolves looked like a completely different team after his departure. The already struggling attack missed Traoré’s ability to create opportunities out of seemingly nothing. Without him in the side, Wolves won only five of their last 17 matches.
Contract and Injury Situation
On top of the questions about the play of Traoré, his contract expires at the end of the upcoming season. This leaves Wolves with a decision to either sell Traoré for less than a player of his ability is worth or let him play one more season before he leaves the club on a free transfer. Either result is a far cry from what seemed destined for Traoré two seasons ago after producing nine assists in the league.
After contract negotiations stalled due to rumours of Traoré wanting to be among the highest paid players at the club, the player staying at Molineux past this season looks unlikely. His loan move in January was a surprise move that had all signs pointing towards the La Masia graduate returning to Barcelona permanently but after a strong start, he struggled for game time. It seems very unlikely a new contract will be signed this season unless Wolves change their stance on wanting to up his wages to convince him to stay.
Lastly, fresh injury concerns complicate things even further as the club sorts Traoré’s future. While the injury may not be severe, it can either limit the amount a team is willing to pay for him at the present moment, given not being available to get integrated with a new side or it could lead to Wolves wasting the final season as he sits out with injuries – however this is unlikely.
So what next for Adama Traore?
It would be best for the club to move on from Traoré if unable to sign him to a new deal. While he is an exciting player that has brought many great moments, his lack of end product makes it hard to justify turning down offers for one more season. The Chiquinho injury last week makes the need for wingers in the squad more necessary but I would rather see the club take the rumoured £10 million offers and invest the money in another young winger.
If he does end up leaving this transfer window, we have gotten to watch one of the most unique players in the world for the past four seasons and I wish him nothing but the best for the memories he has given us.