Tottenham Hotspur have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Hamed Junior Traore.
That’s according to a report by Milan Live (via Sport Witness), who claim that, following the reported interest of a number of European sides in the summer transfer window, US Sassuolo are now ready to sell the attacking midfielder in January – with the 22-year-old said to be valued by the Serie A side at a figure in the region of €30m (£26m).
The report goes on to state that the likes of Spurs, West Ham United, Brighton & Hove Albion and AC Milan are all keeping an extremely close eye on the situation of the Ivory Coast international ahead of launching a potential move for the forward-thinking talent in the winter market.
Considering just how impressive Traore has been for Sassuolo in recent seasons, coupled with Fabio Paratici being heavily linked with a £60m move for James Maddison in a bid to strengthen Antonio Conte’s options in the middle of the park, the argument that the 22-year-old would be a dream alternative to the Leicester City star is an easy one to make.
Indeed, not only is the Sassuolo sensation three years the England international’s junior, but the £21.5m-rated talent would also appear to be available to sign for a considerably smaller fee – with the Ivorian’s reported asking price sitting £34m below the figure the Foxes’ are reported to be demanding in order to part with Maddison this winter.
Furthermore, FBref currently rank Traore in the top 3% of midfielders in Europe’s big five leagues and European competitions for non-penalty goals per 90, in addition to the top 2% for non-penalty xG, the top 3% for shots, the top 9% for shot-creating actions, the top 1% for dribbles completed and the top 4% for touches in the opposition penalty area over the last 365 days.
For comparison, FBref rank Maddison in the top 1% of midfielders for non-penalty goals per 90, as well as the top 5% for non-penalty xG, the top 3% for shots, the top 8% for shot-creating actions, the top 34% for dribbles completed and the top 15% for touches in the opposition penalty area over the past 12 months.
As such, it is not difficult to see why FBref list the 25-year-old Englishman as Traore’s most comparable player, while the youngster is also likened to a number of other top talents in European football, with Bayern Munich trio Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala also listed in the top 10 most comparable players to the Sassuolo starlet.
Further still, with the youngster who Football Talent Scout Jacek Kulig dubbed “magnificent” and claimed is “one of calcio’s biggest jewels” able to operate from no less than eight different positions in midfield – including defensive, central and attacking, as well as on either flank and as a support striker – Traore’s versatility would also be a huge plus for Conte.
So, considering his age, cost and similar ability to that of Maddison, it would appear as if making an approach for the £16k-per-week gem would be a much wiser move than one for the Leicester talisman this winter.