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.


New Sharqiya Baja to take place Thursday

Updated 12 December 2019

New Sharqiya Baja to take place Thursday

ALKHOBAR: The new Sharqiya Baja 2019, the fifth and final round of the inaugural Saudi Toyota Desert Rally Championship, will take place at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday with a timed super special stage of 4.32 km. 

Ahead of a field of 51 cars, nine NUTVs, 10 motorcycles, 23 quads and one truck will be two further days of competitive action through the deserts of the Eastern Province and 474.86 competitive kilometers in a compact route of 746.58 km. 

 Several international drivers, most notably Spaniard Carlos Sainz, Zimbabwe’s Conrad Rautenbach, Abu Dhabi Racing’s Sheikh Khalid Al-Qassimi and Czech Miroslav Zapletal will use the opportunity to finalize their preparations for January’s Dakar Rally.

In contrast, the massive Saudi contingent is spread across several categories and sporting disciplines, and the series finale will decide the outcome of the drivers’ championship and the winner of the quad section.

 Saudi Arabia’s leading drivers, Yazeed Al-Rajhi (Toyota Hilux) and Yasir Seaidan (X-raid Buggy), have fought a fascinating tussle for supremacy in the new series.

 Seaidan won the Aseer Rally opener and finished behind his rival at the Qassim Rally, the AlUla-Neom event and the Riyadh Rally. 

 The pair are now separated by just three points, heading into the showdown on Half Moon Bay.

An outright victory would give either driver the title, with 25 points awarded to the winner, 18 for second place and 15 for third. The two drivers, however, face strong opposition from a plethora of Saudi rivals. 

 ED Racing’s Essa Al-Dossari is a distant third in the series in his Nissan Navara, and can confirm that position by staying ahead of Mutair Al-Shammeri, Khalid Al-Feraihi and Faris Al-Shammeri. 

 Salman Al-Shammeri has already clinched the T2 title by scoring maximum points in the category for series production cross-country vehicles in three of the four rallies. His closest challenger is Yousef Al-Suwaidi, winner of the T2 in the Qassim Rally.

 Saleh Al-Saif confirmed success in the T3 before the recent event in Riyadh, and tackled that rally in the NUTV class, while Ibrahim Al-Muhanna, Osama Al-Sanad and Raed Abo Theeb have cruised to the T4 title in a Mercedes truck. 

Yousef Al-Dhaif has an unassailable lead over Fahad Al-Naim and Khalil and Majid Al-Tuwaijri in the NUTV Championship, but the latter trio will be battling to finish as runners-up in the popular category. Motorcycle honors have already gone to Mishal Alghuneim with Abdullah Al-Helal finishing the series in second place, but a host of riders still have a shot at claiming third overall.

Abdulmajeed Al-Khulaifi won the quad section at the Qassim and AlUla-Neom rallies, but a retirement in Riyadh has left the door open for Riyadh Al-Oraifan to snatch the title in the Eastern Province. He trails his fellow Yamaha rider by 21 points, with 25 available for the outright win.

 Several riders can still finish third, but Abdul Aziz Al-Shayban heads into the ceremonial start on Half Moon Bay leading Riyadh event-winner Sufiyan Al-Omar by six points. 

The event is organized by the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF), under the chairmanship of Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal and the supervision of former FIA Middle East champion Abdullah Bakhashab. 

 The new Baja runs with the support of the SAMF, the General Sports Authority, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors (Toyota), the MBC Group, Al-Arabia Outdoors and the Saudi Research and Marketing Group.

 The event is being considered as an official candidate for future inclusion in the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Bajas.