According to 90min, the Magpies are one of a handful of Premier League clubs who are interested in signing the Spaniard this summer, with the 26-year-old set to leave the Midlands outfit, despite Barcelona snubbing the chance to sign him on a permanent deal.
The former Middlesbrough man – who is out of contract next year – had been on loan at the Nou Camp during the second half of the most recent campaign, although the La Liga side have opted against activating an option-to-buy clause in his temporary deal, with Bruno Lage and co now seeking other potential suitors in order to cash in during the upcoming window.
The Tynesiders are said to have ‘enquired about his services’ in the past, with reports suggesting a €20m (£17m) bid could be enough to get their man, although they will face competition from Tottenham Hotspur with Antonio Conte having been interested back in January.
It may not prove an easy deal to get over the line, amid that rival interest from Spurs, although should PIF manage to snap up the unique talent it would no doubt prove a real coup for manager Eddie Howe.
There are concerns over his attacking output, as the £46k-per-week brute has registered just eight goals and 14 assists in 160 Premier League outings, although that does not tell the full story about his on-field impact, with few players – if any – possessing his rare physical gifts.
Something of a “freak athlete”, in the words of one journalist, the one-time Aston Villa man is able to combine both lightning speed and unrivalled strength to pose a relentless threat to any opposition, with the oiled-up colossus at times almost impossible to contend with.
His knack for driving his side up the pitch in double-quick time is a real gift, with the £25.2m-rated man unsurprisingly ranking in the top 3% for progressive carries and the top 1% for dribbles completed among players in his position across Europe’s top five leagues.
As mentioned earlier, concerns over his attacking contributions are justified, although his brief return to Catalonia – where he began his career – has illustrated that he does have the capability to make an impact in the final third, recording four assists for Xavi’s side in all competitions during his six-month temporary stint.
There is the prospect of Howe lining up with Traore on one flank and Reims starlet Hugo Ekitike on the other next term, with the teenager believed to be nearing a switch to St James’ Park after reportedly agreeing a five-year deal with the club.
Dubbed “the next Mbappe”, as per journalist Graeme Bailey, the 19-year-old netted ten league goals and registered three assists in a breakout campaign in Ligue 1 during the 2021/22 season, with the expectation being that the versatile forward will only progress further in the coming years.
A partnership with that man Traore could also prove simply mouthwatering, with the young Frenchman also possessing outstanding talent with the ball at his feet, ranking in the top 16% for progressive carries and in the top 3% for dribbles completed, with Newcastle potentially set to have a fearsome threat down either wing.
That would feel like a long way from the drab, dull days under Steve Bruce…