Barcelona are in talks with Wolves over a move for Adama Traore, who is unconvinced by Tottenham’s offer to use him in a variety of positions.
Barcelona have offered a loan move with a £29m option to make a deal permanent and Traore would like to return to the club where he started his career.
Sky Sports News reported earlier this week that Spurs were closing in on a £20m deal for the 26-year-old after their previous bid of £15m was rejected, but Barca now look to have moved ahead of Antonio Conte’s side in the race to sign him.
Traore was on the bench for Saturday’s 2-1 win over Brentford but came on for the final 15 minutes and saw a goal ruled out by VAR for offside.
He has been a long-time target of Spurs, who were in talks to sign Traore at the end of the summer transfer window. That interest has remained despite the change of head coach from ex-Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo to Conte.
Traore is out of contract in June 2023 and a new deal has been on the table for 15 months, with his current club keen to keep hold of him.
Blow for Spurs but pull of Barca is strong
Analysis by Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:
Missing out on Adama Traore represents a huge blow for Antonio Conte and Tottenham – this was a deal that was thought to be all but secured with the club keen to add further signings as well. Failure to land the Spain international leaves them with a problem.
Traore had been identified to bring impetus at wing-back where Emerson Royal has lacked the creativity to beat a man in the opposition third. While Traore’s defending has been questioned, nobody doubts his ball-carrying ability would have added a new dimension.
The talk now is that he never fancied the position. Traore has only been used there in desperation by Bruno Lage – when trailing Brentford and Crystal Palace – and last had a run at wing-back under Nuno Espirito Santo in the autumn of 2019, with mixed results.
More likely is that the interest from Barcelona changed his mind. Although Traore has spent the past six-and-a-half years in England, adapting well, Catalonia has always been home. He joined Barca’s youth set-up aged eight and made his La Liga debut for the club at 17.
The chance to return as an international player in his prime and ready to make an impact under his one-time team-mate Xavi Hernandez is an opportunity that he will have craved. Now he looks set to get that chance. For Tottenham, the search continues.
Who will be on the move in January?
The January transfer window opens on Saturday January 1, 2022 and closes at 11pm on Monday January 31.
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