Arsenal are set to miss out on a Messi-esque talent with Atalanta starlet Amad Traore on the verge of joining Serie A rivals Parma instead, according to Sky Italia.
In any other era, this jet-heeled teen would probably already be a key part of the first-team picture in Bergamo.
But it just so happens that Traore has exploded onto the scene while Atalanta are playing some of the most exciting, free-wheeling football in all of Europe.
With Duvan Zapata, Papu Gomez and Josip Ilicic ripping defences to shreds in Serie A and the Champions League under Gian Piero Gasperini this season, one of Italy’s hottest talents has been restricted to just 24 minutes of football.
And given that Traore would likely run into similar problems at Arsenal, with Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Mikel Arteta’s disposal, it seems that he is going elsewhere in search of first-team football.
90Min reported in March that Arsenal were keen on Amad and his brother Hamed.
But, according to Sky, Traore has said ‘yes’ to Parma instead with an official announcement understood to be very close indeed.
The fleet-footed forward, who scored a wondergoal on his Serie A debut during a 7-1 thrashing of Udinese, will be expected to replace the Juventus-bound Sweden international Dejan Kulusevski at Parma.
Big shoes to fill, certainly, but Traore has the talent to do exactly that.
“Traore, he looks like Messi,” Atalanta skipper Gomez said during an Instagram Q&A. “There are defenders in the first team that sometimes cannot stop him.”