Crystal Palace were linked with a move for Stade Rennais right-back Hamari Traore during the summer and considering the lack of defenders available to Patrick Vieira right now, he will surely regret not signing him.
Reports suggested during the summer that Rennes were preparing for the loss of club captain Hamari Traore, with Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Palace all credited with an interest in the 30-year-old.
Vieira rotated between Joel Ward and Nathaniel Clyne as his first-choice right-backs last season and after the latter’s injury earlier this season, he has been forced to deploy Ward there in every game recently.
While the 32-year-old has been an excellent servant for the Eagles during his ten years at the club, his 6.62 average rating from WhoScored this term suggests that he is a solid rather than spectacular option for Vieira to have.
Although Palace’s creativity mainly comes from their free-flowing attack, which includes exciting talents such as Wilfried Zaha, Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise, marauding full-backs are a big part of modern football which Palace don’t seem to benefit from.
Tyrick Mitchell, Clyne and Ward have just one goal contribution between them in the Premier League this season, which suggests that Vieira could have used a more attacking option in his wide defensive positions.
Traore could have provided exactly that, as the Mali international featured 33 times in Ligue 1 last season and contributed with three goals and an impressive ten assists from right-back, earning a solid 7/10 average rating from WhoScored.
He also ranked joint-fifth for most assists in the whole league, not far behind the likes of Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe, which emphasises how dangerous he can be going forward, which is definitely something Vieira lacks in his current full-back options.
Traore certainly doesn’t struggle defensively, as he has largely matched Ward‘s defensive stats from this season, averaging more interceptions (1.1 vs 1) and a similar number of tackles (1.5 vs 1.8) and clearances (2.6 vs 3.3) than the Englishman.
Therefore, Vieira may well regret not pushing harder to sign the “instrumental” Rennes star during the summer, as it seems clear that he could be an upgrade on the Frenchman’s current options, particularly from an attacking perspective.