Leeds United have made a move to bring Hamed Junior Traore to Elland Road in the summer transfer window.
That’s according to Giovanni Carnevali, with the Sassuolo chief revealing in a recent interview with Italian publication Corriere dello Sport (via Sport Witness) that Victor Orta has now made a request to sign the versatile forward, for whom the Serie A club are reported to be demanding a figure of around €25m (£22m) this summer.
When asked about the interest surrounding the 22-year-old, Carnevali said: “We have received a request [from Leeds], but I repeat, we will not sell all of [our most valuable players].”
Considering just how impressive Traore was for Sassuolo last season, and with the Whites’ current star forward Raphinha looking certain to move onto pastures new this summer, it is not difficult to understand why Orta is keen on a deal to bring the Ivory Coast international to Elland Road ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
Indeed, over his 31 Serie A appearances for Alessio Dionisi’s team last season, the £26m-rated talent was in fantastic form. He scored seven goals, registered four assists and created six big chances for his team-mates, along with taking 1.6 shots, making 1.2 key passes and completing two dribbles per game.
Furthermore, according to FBRef data, the £15k-per-week attacker ranks in the top 18% of attacking midfielders and wingers in Europe’s big five leagues and European competitions for non-penalty goals per 90, as well as the top 24% for shots, the top 11% for progressive carries, the top 16% for progressive passes and the top 13% for dribbles completed over the last 365 days.
Further still, the player who Alessandro Dal Canto dubbed an “explosion” also impresses in defensive metrics, with FBRef ranking the 22-year-old in the top 20% for pressures per 90, in addition to the top 22% for tackles, the top 24% for interceptions and the top 37% for blocks over the past 12 months.
These returns see FBRef compare Traore to some of the most exciting attacking talents in European football, such as Lyon’s Houssem Aouar, Bayern Munich’s Serge Gnabry and none other than Leeds star Raphinha.
As such, considering that the Sassuolo sensation is incredibly deadly in the final third, exceptional in his progression of the ball and extremely adept when working back in a defensive capacity, it is clear to see why Orta has identified the four-cap Ivorian as a replacement for the Brazilian winger in Jesse Marsch’s first-team squad.
Indeed, should the Spaniard manage to get a deal over the line for Traore this summer, we would not bet against the youngster going on to become Orta’s next Raphinha-esque discovery in the transfer market – a prospect which is sure to excite the Leeds faithful and Marsch alike.