Bertrand Traore – One to Watch

Bertrand Traore
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Bertrand Traore is having a fantastic season on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, scoring 14, assisting 4 more, and exciting the Dutch fans with his rapid pace, elegance on the ball and rocket of a left foot. The 19 year old forward from Burkina Faso isn’t the only blue at the Eredivisie club, with Wallace and Josh McEachran also getting regular starts.

We decided take a look at Traore’s 14/15 season and run the numbers to see how he compares with some other Chelsea players on loan, fighting to breakthrough and succeed at Stamford Bridge.

Style of Play
Bertrand has been used in two main positions this season, both a centre forward (number 9) and an advanced wide right attacker, in a forward three. While he has performed well enough in the wide position, he’s been far less effective.

Vitesse have favoured their own player Labyad on the left this season (Traore’s preferred role) which has meant that his development has been restricted to two less familiar roles. Being heavily reliant on his left foot, you’d expect him to take a similar approach to Arjen Robben when given a job out on the right hand side – cutting in on his left foot to provide assists and goals. Looking at the numbers, this doesn’t seem to have worked out well for him (1 goal and 1 assist from 11 games in that position) while he’s prone to lose possession easily. Surely something for Chelsea to take note of.

The good news is that Traore has been something of a revelation when played as a striker. 10 goals and 3 assists from 14 games when played up top suggest he knows how to find the back of the net. When he was sent out to Vitesse on loan, not many would have seen that he’d come back as a potential goal getter in the Premier League. Stranger things have happened in football I suppose.

Let’s compare the numbers of Traore’s season with two other Chelsea loan strikers; Patrick Bamford and Stipe Perica.

Bertrand Traore Patrick Bamford Stipe Perica
Age 19 21 19
Club(s) Vitesse Arnhem Middlesbrough NAC Breda / Fiorentina
Appearances 25 32 11
Goals 11 17 3
Goals per game 0.44 0.53 0.27
Assists 4 2 0
Dispossesed per game 1.4 1.6 2

Bertrand Traore has scored 11 goals this season, with a total goal to game ratio of 0.44 – which actually increases to 0.71 when he has played as a centre forward. With this in mind, along with his outstanding dribbling and finishing, I’d give him the nod ahead of Patrick Bamford and Stipe Perica.

If only one of these three were to stay at the Bridge next season to challenge for a first team spot, then based on this season I’d be excited to see Traore given a chance. It looks as though Bamford and Perica could do with more time out on loan getting first team football.

Clearly Bamford has had a great season in the Championship and it’s been clearly recognised with his Championship Player of the Year award he picked up last month. My worry with him is that he can often lose the ball carelessly and can be slow getting back to defend – two things that never sit well with Jose. If you’re not pulling your weight for the team, we know Jose can quickly show you to the door.

The future of a Chelsea loanee is always unknown, and Traore’s is no different. With huge competition from Bamford, Perica, Solanke – and Roman’s deep pockets, it’ll be interesting to see when, and if, Jose looks to his outstanding pool of talent currently on loan. Could Bertrand genuinely challenge the likes of Diego Costa and Loic Remy to provide goals for the first team?