Chelsea have signed 18-year-old Burkina Faso international Bertrand Traore.
Traore impressed the higher-ups at Chelsea this past summer when he joined the preseason tour of Asia and scored in two of the three matches in which he played (against Malaysian and Indonesian select sides).
The attacking midfielder’s form encouraged the Blues to keep him on trial until his 18th birthday on September 6th, when he became eligible for a professional contract. It took a little longer than anticipated to sort the paperwork but Chelsea managed to do so and on Thursday penned him to a four-and-a-half year contract.
Traore comes from a footballing family with his father, Feu Traore Isai, having played for Burkina Faso, while his brother, Alain, plays for French club Lorient and also represents Les Étalons on the international level.
Alain, who is seven years older than Bertrand, failed to secure a work permit at Manchester United following a month-long trial in 2005. There were fears that Bertrand’s paperwork would fall the same way but fate intervened and the player, who debuted for his international side at the tender age of 15, is now a Blue.
With his deal in hand, now comes the biggest challenge of Bertrand’s life – cracking a Chelsea attacking midfield that possesses the talents of Oscar, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle, Kevin De Bruyne and Willian.
If Traore manages to do so, it will likely happen after impressing on loan first. Expect Roman Abramovich to have his good friend Morab Jordania over at Vitesse on the phone momentarily to secure a loan deal.
The Dutch club, affectionately known as FC Hollywood, is currently the loan home of three Chelsea players – Christian Atsu, Lucas Piazon and Christian Cuevas.