Everton need goals. Romelu Lukaku scored a preposterous percentage of the Blues’ goals in 2016/17 - he had 26, Ross Barkley was next closest with 6 - and the Belgian is almost assuredly headed for different (blue?) pastures this summer.
Even if - a big if - Everton found a striker on the transfer market who could replicate Lukaku’s goal totals, they still need to have a larger contribution from their secondary and tertiary players.
Enter Chelsea (by way of Ajax) youngster Bertrand Traore. GFFN and Foot Mercato are reporting that possibly six clubs, including Everton, have submitted bids for the forward, and that Chelsea are seeking up to €20 million for his services.
While those of us at Royal Blue Mersey cannot speak to the veracity of these sources in the same way that we could a report from, say, Sky Sports, what we can tell you is this - Bertrand Traore is very, very good at football.
Bertrand Traore, Ajax 2016-17. I still think he has a strong Premier League and potentially Champions League future. pic.twitter.com/GIPvcaxNXk— Ted Knutson (@mixedknuts) May 26, 2017
Only 21, Traore was typically deployed on the right wing by Peter Bosz’ Europa League finalist side, but is also capable of playing up front as a number nine. He bagged 13 goals and six assists, and looks set to have an outstanding future ahead of him.
Of course, it’s not the first time this summer that the Blues have been linked with an Ajax player. Both Davy Klaassen and Kasper Dolberg have been rumored in the papers as subject to Goodison Park interest, and Ronald Koeman has taken in at least one game at the Amsterdam Arena.
Despite Chelsea’s asking price, it seems that Everton would hold the edge in any negotiations for Traore. The Toffees know that the Burkina Faso man is surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, with Willian, Pedro, Eden Hazard, and perhaps Charly Musonda all ahead of him, and they also know that Romelu Lukaku is target number one for the London side this summer.
In truth, who knows if Everton have registered any interest in Bertrand Traore. Either way, though, he’s precisely the type of player who would make an excellent addition to Ronald Koeman’s 2017-18 ranks.