Wolves' hardline Adama Traore stance justified as human cannonball wreaks havoc on defences

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Wolves' hardline Adama Traore stance justified as human cannonball wreak havoc on defences - GETTY IMAGES
Wolves' hardline Adama Traore stance justified as human cannonball wreak havoc on defences - GETTY IMAGES

When Adama Traore turns on the afterburners and scorches the earth, it remains an exhilarating sight for supporters across the Premier League.

The human cannonball has made an outstanding start to the season and Wolves have managed to achieve something many opposing defenders have struggled to do, by holding on to him.

Traore was a target for Tottenham and former head coach Nuno Espirito Santo over the summer but there is no doubt that he is now an integral part of Bruno Lage’s Molineux revolution.

Lage has transformed Wolves into becoming one of the Premier League’s great entertainers of the season so far - they are third behind only Liverpool and Manchester City with total shots - and Traore is at the forefront of their thrilling, attack-minded approach.

With those lightning bursts on either flank, the Spain international has always had the potential to be devastating and this feels like a big season for the £18 million signing, who has often been accused of lacking end product and consistency.

“Adama is playing well and when you have the ability to do more than one thing you are a better player and create more problems for the opponent,” said Lage on Friday.

“I can see him out wide doing well but also coming inside the pitch. He can improve his game by creating chances with the striker in one-two combinations and attacking the space. We did little interviews with everyone at the start and gave them our opinion about the things they need to work on.”

Wolves adopted a hardline stance over Traore’s future in the summer, with Lage determined to make the 25-year-old a key player under him.

Tottenham made a number of approaches but Wolves demanded a strict £50 million asking price, which ultimately rendered any deal highly unlikely.

With Nuno pushing the Tottenham hierarchy to sign him, the initial offer of a £5 million fee and a loan move for the season, with no option to buy, was swiftly rejected.

Two days before the deadline, Tottenham returned with a £30 million proposal which was also turned down.

With the window now closed, Wolves are in advanced talks with Traore over a new and improved contract. It is understood that signing the new deal will be a formality.

For his part, Traore is understood to have remained professional throughout the uncertainty and has held regular talks with Lage over his role in the team.

He was impressed with the vision for the future and like Ruben Neves, who was also a target for Premier League clubs, bought into the new philosophy.

Though Traore was signed by Nuno, he was often used as either a right wing-back or an impact substitute last season and it is only now that he is playing a bigger part.

He has started every Premier League match this season and played a crucial role in last weekend’s victory at Watford when Lage moved him from the left to right flank at half-time. Lage’s biggest challenge will be to develop Traore’s finishing, which remains an unrefined part of his game.

Indeed, it has often been said that if Traore could finish he would still be at Barcelona, his first club.

Since scoring twice in Wolves’ 2-0 win at Manchester City in October 2019, he has claimed only four goals in the Premier League. It is a statistic that will weigh heavily on his shoulders.

Yet Wolves’ opponents on Saturday, Brentford, will be acutely aware of Traore, who still has his arms lathered in baby oil before games to prevent defenders from grabbing him.

He is a unique player who gives defenders nightmares and, after Wolves stayed strong this summer, he will continue to be their speed king in Old Gold.

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