Barcelona are in talks with Wolves over a move for Adama Traore, who is unconvinced by Tottenham’s offer to use him in a variety of positions.
Barcelona have offered a loan move with a £29m option to make a deal permanent and Traore would like to return to the club where he started his career.
Sky Sports News reported earlier this week that Spurs were closing in on a £20m deal for the 26-year-old after their previous bid of £15m was rejected, but Barca now look to have moved ahead of Antonio Conte’s side in the race to sign him.
Sky Sports News also understands that Tottenham will not attempt to convince Traore to turn Barcelona down and will instead focus on other targets.
Tottenham are continuing talks over a deal for Porto winger Luis Diaz as they look to strengthen their squad before the transfer deadline.
Traore was on the bench for Saturday’s 2-1 win over Brentford but came on for the final 15 minutes and saw a goal ruled out by VAR for offside.
He has been a long-time target of Spurs, who were in talks to sign Traore at the end of the summer transfer window. That interest has remained despite the change of head coach from ex-Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo to Conte.
Traore is out of contract in June 2023 and a new deal has been on the table for 15 months, with his current club keen to keep hold of him.
‘It looks like Spurs have missed out on Traore’
SSN Chief Reporter Kaveh Solhekol on ‘The Transfer Show’:
“It looks like Spurs have missed out on Adama Traore, with Barcelona having agreed a deal in principle to take him on loan from Wolves, with an option to buy in the summer for about £25m.
“Spurs have been trying to buy Traore and put in a £15m bid, which was not enough. There was some expectation that a deal could be done for about £20m, but Barcelona have come in for the player, who used to play for the Barcelona Academy.
“And when a club like Barcelona come in for you, it is very difficult to say no and that is why he has decided to go back to Barcelona. And I really do not think here was much Spurs could have done about this.
“There are reports in Spain he has agreed to take a pay cut as well to move to Barcelona – so it looks like bad news for Spurs as far as Traore is concerned.”
Blow for Spurs but pull of Barca is strong
Analysis by Sky Sports’ Adam Bate:
Missing out on Adama Traore represents a huge blow for Antonio Conte and Tottenham – this was a deal that was thought to be all but secured with the club keen to add further signings as well. Failure to land the Spain international leaves them with a problem.
Traore had been identified to bring impetus at wing-back where Emerson Royal has lacked the creativity to beat a man in the opposition third. While Traore’s defending has been questioned, nobody doubts his ball-carrying ability would have added a new dimension.
The talk now is that he never fancied the position. Traore has only been used there in desperation by Bruno Lage – when trailing Brentford and Crystal Palace – and last had a run at wing-back under Nuno Espirito Santo in the autumn of 2019, with mixed results.
More likely is that the interest from Barcelona changed his mind. Although Traore has spent the past six-and-a-half years in England, adapting well, Catalonia has always been home. He joined Barca’s youth set-up aged eight and made his La Liga debut for the club at 17.
The chance to return as an international player in his prime and ready to make an impact under his one-time team-mate Xavi Hernandez is an opportunity that he will have craved. Now he looks set to get that chance. For Tottenham, the search continues.
View from Spain: Has deal come as a surprise?
Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero told Sky Sports:
“This is a deal that appears extremely close. Barcelona have not denied this story and reports here in Spain reflect that there is an agreement between the two clubs and the player. Traore loves the idea of playing again for Barcelona.
“It’s extremely surprising due to Barcelona’s financial situation. It is only a loan until next summer with the option to buy – but it’s not mandatory. We should also remember that Francisco Trincao is also a player of agent Jorge Mendes.
“He’s a Barcelona player on loan at Wolves, who have the option to buy the player for €30m. In case Traore plays extremely well and Barcelona want to sign him permanently, maybe Trincao could hold the key to Traore staying beyond July.
“It would be a special move for Traore and a challenge. We have to remember he played for Barcelona B and only twice for the first team seven years ago when he was a boy. He didn’t have success in Spain, but thanks to his performances in England, he has been able to get a call-up to the Spanish national team under Luis Enrique.
“He would return to a different Barcelona. When he left, the club was all about ball possession under Pep Guardiola and Enrique, but now you have to remember that while he is not a typical player of Barcelona of the last 10 or 15 years, he’s a very physical player who can help Xavi’s current team.”
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