Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Adama Traore is currently facing an uncertain future at Molineux with just under a year remaining on his existing deal at the club, having become something of a peripheral figure under Bruno Lage of late.
The former Benfica boss had sanctioned the Spaniard’s departure to Barcelona on a loan deal back in January, although the 26-year-old returned to the Midlands over the summer with the Catalan outfit opting against triggering an option to buy to keep him at the Camp Nou.
The La Masia youth product has since gone on to make four substitute appearances in the Premier League so far this term, having largely been resigned to a watching brief despite the lack of options at the manager’s disposal.
It is approaching a sad end to the £43k-per-week man’s time at the club – amid talk of an exit in the winter window – with the undoubtedly unique menace having somewhat failed to deliver since his club-record arrival from Middlesbrough back in 2018.
One man who had seemingly foreseen what was to come with regards to Traore’s time at the club was one-time England boss Sam Allardyce, who stated at the time: “He’s what we call a ‘sacking player’ because the fans will love him but the manager will not see it often enough.
“Unless the last few years at Middlesbrough has taught him a lot to deliver. If he delivers consistently he’s a hell of a player, but his inconsistency has always been the problem since he arrived at (Aston) Villa.
“You will be judged on the size of the money and the player by the fans, and if the fans turn around and say after a few games ‘he’s a waste of money, what did we buy him for?’ that’s what you’re faced with now. How much he’ll improve the team? I think with his pace and what he’s got he will obviously improve the team, but will he do it consistently enough for that value on him, with the pressure it puts on him then?
“That is always a big problem for a player, living with the fee that’s paid for them, that’s a problem.”
While the player’s form has not led to any sackings during his time at Wolves, Allardyce was no doubt correct in his suggestion that Traore is the type of player whom supporters – and neutrals alike – love to watch in action due to his breathtaking speed and power, although he actually rarely delivers the goods when it matters.
That ‘inconsistency’ – as the former Bolton Wanderers manager noted – has seen the £13.5m-rated machine score just 12 goals and provide only 18 assists in 159 games during his time with the club, with that lack of end product having been a continued issue throughout his career.
For all the former Aston Villa man’s potential threat and dribbling prowess – as he notably ranks in the top 1% for dribbles completed across Europe’s top five leagues – he far too often fails to provide that killer moment, having notably been dubbed “a hot-and-cold, frustrating player” by writer Zach Lowy.
That lack of a cutting edge had been evident even prior to his move to Molineux, after netting just five times and laying on only 13 assists in 71 games during his time at Boro, while he’s notably only scored three league goals since the start of the 2020/21 campaign, leading talkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino to state that “his numbers are terrible.”
As such, Allardyce may well have been wise to question the wisdom in forking out an £18m fee for his services just over four years ago.