It has been a long time since a player come through the youth system at Chelsea and become an established first team player. Young attacking midfielder Bertrand Traore could easily be the man to end the wait.
Like many young players at Chelsea, Traore has spent a period in the Netherlands with Vitesse Arnhem. Unlike many of the others, he has a very good chance of becoming an established first team player.
Despite being linked with the Blues for many years previously, and spending a trial period with the club, Traore didn’t officially become a Chelsea player until January 2014. Because he was not eligible for a work permit at this time, he moved to Vitesse.
During his first six months at the Dutch club, he fought for selection with fellow Chelsea loanee Lucas Piazon, and failed to have a real impact. It was only in his second season at the club that Traore made a real impression. In the absence of Piazon, he was a key man for Vitesse, and was the side’s highest scorer with 17 goals in all competitions, helping his side to the Europa League play-offs.
His success hasn’t just come at club level either. At just 15, he made his debut for his country, Burkina Faso. Since then he has made 24 international appearances, and has played in two African Cup of Nations tournaments. At just 20 years of age, he is already a key part of the international set up and will remain so for many years to come.
This season is the first one in which he has been a part of Chelsea’s first team squad. He hasn’t had the game time that he would have wanted however, despite making his Champions League and Premier League debut. He has spent a lot of time on the bench, but he just hasn’t been given a chance on the pitch.
Jose Mourinho was said to be ‘crazy’ about the young winger, and believed he had the potential to be a top player. Now that the Portuguese manager has been sacked, Traore must hope that Guus Hiddink gives him a chance in the first team. Recently, he has been heavily linked with a loan move to Ajax, however he would grow much more as a player if he was given a run in the Premier League.
Wherever he ends up this January, Traore needs to be getting more game time so he has the opportunity to fulfil his potential, because when he reaches it, he will be a top footballer.