It may be five years since Aston Villa sold Adama Traore to Middlesbrough, but there can surely be no questioning that the Midlands club got the wrong end of the bargain.
It was Roberto Di Matteo who was in charge at Villa Park when the decision was made to let Traore go, with Albert Adomah arriving in the opposition direction instead.
At the time, Di Matteo seemed to be thrilled with the club’s business, saying: “Albert is a player I’m really happy to have brought to the club and like others he knows what is required to win promotion from the Championship. He is an attacking player who creates goals and I’m confident he will be an impressive addition to the group.”
But since then, it’s Traore who’s really had the last laugh.
Now, a five-cap Spain international, the 25-year-old has firmly established himself as a Premier League star, and has kept that X-factor that really made him stand out as a youngster.
As per Whoscored, his average of 4.2 dribbles per game in the top-flight this season ranks him as the most prolific dribbler in the division, while he also ranks in the top six for earning the most fouls per match too (2.2).
Dubbed as “unplayable” by Jurgen Klopp following an impressive display against his Liverpool side, Traore also has a fan in Graeme Souness, with the Sky Sports pundit saying: “He is now not only a winger anymore, he keeps the ball, holds the ball and sets up goals, obviously. That makes it so difficult, each ball you lose is 100 per cent a counter-attack and half a goal.”
CIES now value him at a whopping £35m, and that’s a testament to just how much he has grown since leaving Villa Park, with the Spaniard now very much a key part of Nuno Espirito Santo’s side at Wolves – he’s now played well over 100 times for the Molineux based club.
Given how much he has progressed over the years since his departure, Villa must surely look back at Traore’s exit back in 2016 as one they got completely wrong.