Ligue 1: Out with Mariano, in steps Bertrand Traore

His name has been buzzing in the news in patches for quite sometime now. It’s probably because he is such a top talent and had the media monitor his growth journey. At 23 years of age, it is beginning to look more like Burkina Faso’s Bertrand Traore is a fully grown footballer. It will not be far off from now before he follows the footsteps of other great African forwards such as Didier Drogba, Emmanuel Adebayor and Nwankwo Kanu who shook the football world. Let’s talk about three reasons why he will get a seat at the table of the legends.

Bertrand Traore of Chelsea celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Stoke City at Stamford Bridge on March 5, 2016 in London, England.  (March 4, 2016 - Source: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe)

Bertrand Traore of Chelsea celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Stoke City at Stamford Bridge on March 5, 2016 in London, England.

(March 4, 2016 - Source: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe)

Ask Olympique Marseille, they know.

On Sunday, matchday six of the French Ligue 1, Olympique Lyonnais humiliated Marseille 4-2, handing them only their second loss of the 2017/18 campaign. Central to Lyon’s performance was 2018 FIFA World Cup winner, Nabil Fekir who has African roots by the way, his parents hailing from Algeria and of course Bertrand. Traore struck twice in a space of nine minutes to put the game beyond Marseille. His first goal came in the 51st minute after he was fed a long upfield ball which he controlled from the left wing, cut inside, dribbling past one player and netting it in the far side of the post. It was really a typical “Riyad Mahrez goal.” The second was even better, Malian-French footballer Moussa Dembele fed Traore a pass from the same wing who then played a neat one-two with Nabil Fekir before netting his second for the game, this time in the near post. He has now scored four goals in six 2018/19 Ligue 1 matches for Lyon, second most goals scored so far by a single player behind Florian Thauvin. Watching Traore’s passing with teammates, finishing and dribbling against Lyon, one would really appreciate that there aren’t as many good and physical forwards in the modern game today, more so who are as young as twenty-three. He sure looks ready for any challenge now!

At Chelsea, just like Salah, he left an unwanted child who never really got a chance, at Ajax the stage was not big enough and perhaps now - all things align for Traore. Lyon might have to ward off interests from potential suitors for the Burkinabe international who debuted for his country at only 15 years of age.
— Dennis Takaendesa, FirstTouch Africa

Champions League Spotlight

Lyon look like a side that is on the up. Other than Marseille, Premier League champions, Manchester City also fell victim to their detailed, intricate and clinical style of play in the UEFA Champions League opening round of matches at the Etihad Stadium. With his side not just rubbing shoulders but inflicting pain on the likes of City, it will be difficult for anyone not to spot Traore, future suitors included. He was good in the Eredivisie for Ajax on loan from Chelsea, even reaching the UEFA Europa League final where they lost to Manchester United and made it to the 2016/17 Europa League team of that season after scoring four goals in the campaign. But, that stage put his name to a certain level and this new stage is even bigger. The likes of Kylian Mbappe were astonishing in the French Ligue 1 but only got the world’s stamp of approval after repeating the same feats in the Champions league with Monaco in the 2016/17 season when they reached the semis. At Chelsea, just like Salah, he left an unwanted child who never really got a chance, at Ajax the stage was not big enough and perhaps now - all things align for Traore. Lyon might have to ward off interests from potential suitors for the Burkinabe international who debuted for his country at only 15 years of age.

Chelsea also know

The North Londoners were big losers after letting Mohamed Salah leave for Roma, the Egyptian who could be crowned by FIFA as the World’s Best Football Player for the year 2018. This time, they wisened up a little bit, knowing Traore’s potential, they sold him to Lyon for €10 million with a buy-back clause reportedly inserted in the contract of sale, meaning they would have the first choice resigning him or get a 15% profit from a future sale to any other club. Chelsea know his potential and know that a big money move in the near future for Traore cannot be off the the cards.

With attributes almost similar to that of Emmanuel Adebayor who played for Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham, Real Madrid amongst many other clubs; from the height, dribbling and finishing - Traore time is perhaps just now!