PSG make a shock move for former Barcelona starlet Adama Traore

Adama Traore could make the unlikely move from Middlesbrough to Paris Saint-Germain. (AFP)
Updated 18 June 2018

PSG make a shock move for former Barcelona starlet Adama Traore

  • Spain U-21 international has a £18 million release clause
  • PSG under pressure to comply with FFP regulations

LONDON: Paris Saint-Germain have made an approach to sign Spain U-21 international Adama Traore. The Qatar-owned club’s unexpected move for the Middlesbrough winger forms part of a strategy to bring PSG’s finances into compliance with Uefa Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
According to a source familiar with negotiations, PSG regard the former Barcelona forward as a relatively low-cost replacement for players such as Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler, whose salaries the French champions are trying to offload in the current transfer window. Traore’s contract at Middlesbrough includes an £18 million ($24 million) release clause that came into effect when the English club failed to achieve promotion to the Premier League.
Further economies could be achieved by initially transferring the 22-year-old to a Qatar Stars League club before moving Traore to PSG on loan, or at a discounted fee. The proposed FFP workaround has parallels to the manner with which Manchester City acquired Frank Lampard in August 2014 on a “loan” from Major League Soccer sister club New York City. Three months earlier, Uefa had fined the Abu Dhabi-owned club €60m ($69 million) while restricting City’s transfer expenditure and Champions League squad size as a punishment for breaching rules on revenue and spending.
PSG were sanctioned by European football’s governing body the same summer, yet like City, have deployed large tranches of state-entity sponsorship to bankroll unprecedented spending on player recruitment in subsequent windows. According to CIES Football Observatory’s academic studies, City committed a record €586 million to transfer fees in the first two years of Pep Guardiola’s reign as manager. Last summer, PSG agreed to pay Barcelona €222 million for Neymar and AS Monaco €180 million for Kylian Mbappe, respectively the highest ever fee for a footballer and a teenager.
While Qatar is prepared to continue its aggressive investment in PSG with the aim of winning the Champions League, and has been working on a deal to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid, the club is conscious of the need to make its books FFP-compliant. As a result, PSG want to sell fringe players this summer, could potentially sacrifice Mbappe, and are considering deals for individuals like Traore.
A product of Barcelona’s youth development program, Traore was sold to Aston Villa in 2015, switching to Middlesbrough a season later. Valued for his extreme pace, the forward has averaged over eight successful dribbles per 90 minutes in Championship matches over the last two season; a return higher than Neymar and every other player in Europe’s five most prominent Leagues.
In addition to PSG, the 22-year-old has attracted interest from a number of Premier League clubs, including Chelsea, who have floated the idea of a transfer from and loan back to Middlesbrough. A source close to the player told Arab News that Traore’s preference would be to move to a club contending for silverware in one of Europe’s elite leagues.

Yoon double puts Ulsan in last 16, Beijing stay perfect

Updated 01 December 2020

Yoon double puts Ulsan in last 16, Beijing stay perfect

  • Beijing Guoan sustain their unbeaten run, beating FC Seoul 3-1 for their fifth consecutive win in Group E

DOHA: Yoon Bit-garam struck once in each half to send Ulsan Hyundai through to the round of 16 in the Asian Champions League with a 2-1 win over FC Tokyo on Monday.

The 30-year-old's efforts ensured top position in Group F for Ulsan with 13 points from five matches, while FC Tokyo are locked in a battle for the second qualifying spot with Shanghai Shenhua.

Ulsan though were in for a massive shock immediately after kickoff when Tokyo's Kensuke Nagai scored in the first minute from a seemingly routine move on the right flank.

Shuto Abe poked the ball into the path of the advancing Nagai, who capitalized on uncertain Ulsan defending with a measured low drive that beat goalkeeper Jo Su-huk via the upright.

Although Tokyo held the lead, it was Ulsan who largely dominated the match, keeping the Tokyo defense on edge constantly.

But after several attempts at goal, the equaliser came only in the 44th minute as Yoon curled in a free-kick from 25 yards following a foul on him by Joan Oumari.

Ulsan never lost their grip on the match after the resumption and sealed the win in the 85th minute, Yoon profiting from an assist by Won Du-jae and slamming the ball past Tokyo goalkeeper Go Hatano for his fourth goal of the tournament this year.

"I'd like to congratulate our players for qualifying for the next round. I am so happy," said Ulsan Hyundai coach Kim Do-hoon.

"We conceded an early goal and tried to recover it as quickly as possible, which was a good point for us. We fought as one team."

Meanwhile, form team Beijing Guoan maintained their unbeaten run at this year's competition with their fifth consecutive win in Group E, easing past FC Seoul 3-1.

Beijing had already qualified with two matches to spare, but didn't take their foot off the pedal on Monday as goals from Jonathan Viera and Renato Augusto gave them a 2-0 advantage at half time.

Yun Ju-tae pulled one back for Seoul in the 89th minute but Zhang Yuning put the issue beyond doubt for Bruno Genesio's men with a stoppage-time effort.

"Today's match, before the game, I asked the players to play with a serious attitude and respect the opponents," said Genesio.

"We played well and we knew we had to fight hard and score goals. Even after we conceded (late in the second half), we responded by scoring again."

Seoul coach Lee Won-jun was despondent after his team fell nine points behind Beijing, although they are still in second place.

"After the defeat to Beijing in the first match I told the players to play without pressure, which they did today," said Lee. "But they also committed some mistakes and we were punished by three goals."