PSG make a shock move for former Barcelona starlet Adama Traore

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

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.