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Traore set to give West Ham that missing ingredient

Adama Traore can give West Ham what they’ve been missing in recent transfers

For the past few seasons, West Ham transfers have largely been solid players in their late-20s or early-30s who weren’t going to make the club much more than it already was. Manuel Lanzini is a prime example of David Sullivan’s club beginning to change its ways and last summer’s purchase of Edimilson Fernandes is another example, although the 21-year old didn’t settle in as quickly as Lanzini did in his first campaign.

The Hammers have recently been linked with Middlesbrough winger Adama Traore, and his signing would show West Ham are serious about getting better and younger at the same time.

The 21-year old was a stud for the Barcelona youth teams and made his first team debut aged just 17. Traore only made three more Barcelona appearances but did score a goal in the Copa Del Rey before moving to Aston Villa ahead of the 2015/16 season. He only made 10 substitute appearances for the league’s worst club, but when a team is struggling as much as Villa were, youth development takes a back seat and Traore was a victim of Villa’s petulance.

He impressed enough to move to newly promoted side Middlesbrough and made 31 appearances for another relegation side. It’s really difficult for a young player to break out when all the experience players are in such poor form, so Traore’s statistics only tell part of the story. He only created one goal in all his appearances, but he also finished the season with the most dribbles per game in the league.

Constantly playing for relegated clubs isn’t a great formula for player development, so moving to a solid Premier League club like West Ham would be a good move for both sides. Traore’s dribbling skills show he spent a good amount of time on the training pitch with Lionel Messi and Neymar, but there aren’t any players at Villa or Middlesbrough that would ever make the Barcelona bench.

His end product isn’t what it could be, but Traore is not a striker and doesn’t have to be. Playing with more capable goal scorers than Alvaro Negredo and Rudy Gestede would do wonders for the 21-year old’s confidence and development. Lanzini, Andy Carroll and Michail Antonio have all shown the ability to find the back of the net more consistently and adding such a speedy dribbler, the club’s most glaring need, would be great for their own careers as well.

A young player with as much potential as Traore hasn’t been brought to West Ham in a long time and sealing the transfer should be at the top of Slaven Bilic’s to-do list.