Amad Traore, the Ivorian rising star headed for Old Trafford

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Ivory Coast is known for producing top class footballers who have flown the flag very high in world football.

Top of the list you have players like Didier Drogba, the Toure brothers (Yaya and Kolo) and even current footballers like Wilfried Zaha, Nicolas Pepe, Franck Kessie and many more plying their trade at some of the best leagues in Europe.

In the recent transfer window on deadline day football fans all over the world were left asking many questions when English club Manchester United announced that in January they will be signing Atalanta winger Amad Diallo Traore.

Although the two clubs have agreed on a deal for the attacker, Manchester United and the player’s representatives still have to agree personal terms in the upcoming window before the Abidjan-born youngster can make the move. 

The story of Traore is quite fascinating because he moved to Italy with his older brother when he was just a child and in 2014 started out with Boca Barco’s youth team where he impressed at a Christmas tournament playing for Boca later in the same year.

Traore usually played with kids four or even five years older than him, but he often shined the brightest among his peers. In the Christmas tournament the 18-year-old finished as the tournament’s top goal scorer which immediately drew interest from a host of Serie A and Serie B teams across Italy, but it was Atalanta who eventually won the race and signed him.  

In June 2015 the Ivorian would start a journey that would change his life for the better as he moved from his home to officially join Atalanta’s youth teams starting with the U-14 development squad.

Later, he began playing in the Campionato Juniores Nazionali, the under-19 championship division in Italy. His exploits were immediately felt after he played in the Final Eight of the division scoring a decisive goal against AS Roma in the final to help his side win the Scudetto. 

He continued to do well in the development squads becoming the top goal scorer at U-15 and U-17 level, but it was in the 2018/19 season where he blossomed scoring 12 goals and made 7 assists in 16 under-17 games, and 6 goals and 6 assists in 26 Primavera games.

The season was capped off by winning the Campionato Primavera 1 junior title. The club’s senior coaches started taking notice and in 2019 he was called to join the senior team. On the 27th of October 2019 Traore made his Serie A debut coming off the bench after 79 minutes against Udinese.

The teenage sensation made an immediate impact scoring his first ever senior goal four minutes after coming on as Atalanta ran out 7-1 winners at home. That goal meant that he broke a record as he became the first player born in 2002 to score in the Italian top flight. His first UEFA Champions League squad inclusion came in a 3-0 away win against Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk on the 11th of December although he never made it off the bench.

Traore made a total of 3 league appearances last season scoring once and so far in the 2020/21 season he has played 6 Serie A games scoring a single goal.

The winger is expected to improve his numbers before making the switch to ‘Old Trafford’ in January, in fact reports in Italy have suggested that after completing the move he could be loaned back to Atalanta for the rest of the season to allow him to continue his season instead of cutting it short.

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By Prince Sobayeni

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