Jack Stroudley dives into Traore’s career so far to see what Fulham fans can expect.
Fulham have made their fourth signing of the summer and it was certainly one that I think caught everyone off guard. Demarai Gray and Callum Hudson-Odoi seemed the most likely wide players to make the move to SW6, but it was Adama Traore who Fulham announced on Saturday evening. The Spainard was first linked to the club on Friday with a deal being completed very quickly for the free agent. So now the dust has settled on his announcement, here’s a little bit more on our new signing.
Born and bred at Barca
Traore spent the entirety of his youth career playing for Barcelona, where he was signed in 2004 at the age of eight. As he would grow older he would continue to develop through the ranks and made his debut for Barcelona B in 2013. Despite it being a debut to forget giving away a penalty and being sent off, he would make his first appearance for the Barcelona first team two weeks later.
Traore made four appearances for Barcelona during his first stint at the club featuring in La Liga, UEFA Champions League as well as the Copa Del Ray. His one and only goal for the first team would come during an 8-1 victory over Huesca in the Copa Del Ray. He caught the attention of English clubs through his performances for Barcelona B though earning himself a place in the Segunda Division Team of the Year as well as winning the UEFA Youth League in the 2013/14 season.
The now 27-year-old would re-sign for Barcelona on loan back in 2022 and despite featuring 17 times across La Liga and the UEFA Europa League, the Spanish side chose not to activate their option to buy.
Interest across England
Traore’s successes at Barcelona B caught the attention of Aston Villa, who signed the winger in 2015 for a reported £7m. Despite making the move to England, it was certainly a season to forget for Traore as it was riddled with injuries which kept him out for over half a season. Traore would play just 186 minutes of football for an Aston Villa side that would eventually get relegated.
Despite this, Traore managed to secure a transfer just one year later to newly-promoted Middlesborough. The Spainard played regularly for Boro, but was still struggling to acclimatise to life in England picking up just one assist in a Premier League campaign which would see Middlesborough relegated.
However, it was in his second season at the club where Traore would begin to impress, picking up 15 goal contributions in a campaign where Middlesborough would lose to his former side Aston Villa in the play-offs. During that season, Traore picked up awards for Fans’ Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year.
Starting to build a reputation for being incredibly fast and strong on the ball, Traore was rewarded with yet another Premier League move. This time at newly promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers for a fee of around £18m. Traore would finally score his first Premier League goal in September 2018 against West Ham United.
Over the course of his five-year spell in the Midlands, the former Spanish international would play more than 150 times for the club and while his goal record isn’t wildly impressive, his ability to produce chances did earn him a PFA Player of the Month award back in January 2020. After his most recent contract expired this summer, Fulham decided to take a chance on the winger and signed him on a two-year deal with an option of a third.
The final verdict
So, what do I think of this signing? I don’t mind it in all honesty. We were in need of depth both at left and right wing and Traore ticks the latter of the two. While I don’t expect him to start many games, he gives us a very direct and dynamic option off the bench which was something I feel we lacked in certain games last season.
His pace and physicality is enough to cause any team problems and while his ability to put chances away is still up for debate, at 27 he can still grow and develop under Marco Silva and for a free transfer we could’ve done a lot worse.