This summer one of the main talking points of Chelsea’s pre-season tour has been the performances of talented teenager Bertrand Traore.
The 17-year-old from Burkina Faso has caught the eye with a number of impressive performances for the club; including a man-of-the-match display against Malaysia XI and a superb goal against Indonesia All-Stars.
The fact is that Traore has been with Chelsea since 2010; but as an on-off trialist training with the team but unable to play in competitive fixtures due to him not possessing a Work Permit.
His countries lowly FIFA Ranking has made it difficult for him to obtain permission from the Home Office to play football in the UK despite his exceptional talent.
And with that in mind Chelsea are now growing fearful of losing a talented player, that they have nurtured for three years, to a team that can offer him regular first-team football; without the rigmarole of appeals processes etc.
And it is all very familiar to the Traore household; because his older brother Alain went through the exact same experience.
Accept he was at Manchester United.
In 2005, Alain Traore was a 16-year-old Burkinabe striker making his way in the game and had plenty of big teams looking at him; with Manchester United taking him in on a one-month trial with a view to signing him permanently.
He was clearly rated at the club as they wanted to keep hold of him; but just like his little brother, currently causing waves at Stamford Bridge, it was impossible for United to secure him a Work Permit.
It meant he would have to play for United’s feeder club Royal Antwerp in Belgium if he was to ever play at Old Trafford permanently; meanwhile United would have tried to secure him the necessary documentation.
It was something the elder Traore himself discussed in 2012:
"Do I regret having joined Auxerre rather than Manchester United? Not at all. At Auxerre I played with the reserves, what would United have done? Sent me back to Africa? During my month in Manchester I played one match and all of the professionals watched us and I met with Alex Ferguson. Of course I wanted to stay, but there was a problem with my work permit. I would have had to be sent on loan to Belgium for six months and my mother refused. She preferred Auxerre."
Nowadays Traore plays for Lorient, and is a nationalized French citizen due to the eight years he has spent living in the country.
He showcased his excellent talents at the African Nations Cup at the start of this year; demonstrating form which had seen him linked with a winter move to Arsenal before a knee injury ended his season.
Burkina Faso came runners-up to Nigeria in South Africa and that may give Chelsea hope of getting Traore a Work Permit when he turns 18 in September; as Les Etalons have now risen to 42nd in the FIFA Rankings.
For Chelsea they will hope that their story of a Traore brother pursuit does not end in a similar fashion to United's; because judging by the evidence on show so far he looks set to have a promising career in front of him. Whether it will be at Chelsea remains to be seen.
Here is his excellent goal against Indonesia All-Stars for your pleasure…
image: © Ben Sutherland