Adama Traore has become so much more than a dribbling wizard for Wolves this season, but while his game has filled out, his sheer pace and giant physique apparently once led him to other possibilities in other sports.
According to his Wolves teammate Roman Saiss, Traore had tryout offers from NFL teams while still a youth player with Barcelona.
Speaking with French outlet RMC Sport, Saiss said, “I remember saying to him: ‘You run like an American footballer.’ He responded to me that at the time that he played in Barcelona, NFL teams tried to get him to playing American football instead, that’s how explosive he was.”
Traore spent nine years with the Barcelona academy and youth system, joining in 2004 and moving up to the reserve squad in 2013. He never appeared for Barcelona’s senior side, instead moving to Aston Villa in 2015 before stints with Middlesbrough and now Wolves.
Somehow, even with Traore’s enormous body type, Saiss said he doesn’t weight train, at least not with the club. “I see him every day, because we are in the gym together, before or after training,” Saiss said. “Maybe he has a hidden gym room in his house, but at training, in any case, he never pumps iron, whether it is bench press or otherwise. He is huge and very quick.” Traore himself said the same a few days ago, telling Spanish channel La Sexta, “My training? I don’t do weights. It’s hard to believe, but I don’t do weights. It’s genetic. I exercise, but I gain mass very quickly.”
Traore’s game has vastly improved this season. Once known as a sheer dribbler who only had one truly elite skill, his creativity and finishing have both taken leaps this campaign. He has four goals and four assists in Premier League play this season, including a game against Manchester City where he picked up a goal and an assist in a 3-2 win.
Who knows what could have been in the NFL. It’s unclear how NFL teams discovered him while playing for Barcelona’s youth team, what franchises reached out, or what kind of interest there was. Entirely speculating, could have profiled as a wide receiver or safety, or could have maybe even built into another position – especially considering his size without any weight training.