Following the news that Chelsea had agreed a deal to sign Bertrand Traore some Blues fans hailed the Burkina Faso forward as a more promising player than Adnan Januzaj.
But while Manchester United fans have seen their teenage Belgian up close, Chelsea fans have had to keep a close eye on Vitesse Arnhem’s campaign for progress checks on Traore.
After playing three times on trial for Chelsea during pre-season, the 18-year-old completed the deal first announced in October at the start of last month.
But he was soon sent on loan to the Eredivisie, joining fellow Chelsea starlets Lucas Piazon, Christian Atsu and Patrick van Aanholt at Vitesse.
Up until recently, his only competitive action has come from the substitutes’ bench, but on Friday he started the match against ADO Den Haag.
His three previous appearances from the bench have shown glimpses of his undeniable talent, but this was the first time he could attempt to influence a match from the beginning.
However, it was something of a disappointment as not only did the game end 0-0, but Traore failed to have a single shot on target.
He did make one key pass, and had a pass-completion rate of 83%. But prior to his substitution in the 66th minute, Traore failed to make his mark on the game, outshone by Piazon who managed two shots and two key passes.
Their opposition clearly came to defend, and they did it well, with Vitesse failing to break them down despite having considerably more of the ball.
But despite having an off-game, Traore’s previous performances have suggested it is only a matter of time before he gets off the mark in Holland.
In a second-half cameo against AZ Alkmaar, Traore had three shots, one of which was on target. While on his previous appearance against Feyenoord he had one shot on target and played two key passes in just 34 minutes.
In short, for now he is showing only flashes of brilliance. And at just 18, little more can be expected of a player who has so much to get used to.
But his talent is undeniable. And in time, Blues fans will be hoping to see him blossom at Stamford Bridge.
image: © Vincent Teeuwen