His ambitions are certainly loft enough, but first we should correct an error we’ve already made – the Burkina Faso youngster Bertrand Traore who has already made a big impression for the blues on their pre-season tour of Asia isn’t technically a Chelsea as yet. This is because the youngster hasn’t yet turned 18 and no clubs are allowed to sign foreign players under that age unless both the club in question and the player are from an EU country (or are less than 100km from one another across an international border) – or the player’s parents move to the host country for non-footballing reasons.
Of course, this is a technicality as Traore turns 18 on September 6th – almost perfectly timed for the new season which will surely be the most enthralling of all Premier League title races given the special one’s return, the end of an era at Old Trafford, and the arrival of another potentially special manager at The Etihad in the shape of Manuel Pellegrini.
Considering the sheer level of anticipation for the coming season, there will be a lot of competition in the airwaves and the internet over which company attracts the most viewers and revenue. TV channels and offerings have been challenged by internet based viewing packages. Given that cheap broadband packages are available all over the place, internet based viewing options are definitely attractive. Blue chip companies like Sky Virgin, O2 etc are fiercely contesting the ‘cyber space cash.’ For example, Sky broadband packages in Ireland and the UK are a good bet for moving your sports viewing to the cyber space. Alternative viewing options, when deals with the likes of Setanta Sports will likely go through the roof, could be a winter of renaissance rather than discontent from an economic viewpoint.
But if you had to pack out one particular potential shining light for the season ahead it would have to be that of Chelsea’s African Pelé in waiting. He has already lit up Chelsea’s pre-season warm-up games, netting in the club’s 4-1 victory over a Malaysia XI and scoring an unbelievable goal in the blues’ 8-1 demolition of the Indonesia All Stars.
Traore also made an appearance for Burkina Faso during the recent Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon. He came on as a sub for his country in their 2-1 defeat by Sudan in a group game. The youngster wasn’t called up by his country during the Nations Cup in South Africa earlier in the year, when Burkina Faso finished runners-up to Nigeria.
But he has a burning desire to become one of the world’s top players whilst at Chelsea where he will surely have the chance to prove himself under the tutelage of José Mourinho.
Traore first attracted Chelea’s attention during the Under-17 World Cup campaign in Nigeria back in 2009 when the then 14 year-old became that tournament’s youngest player. And his amazing skills were plain for all to see during the Under 17s tournament in Rwanda the same year.
The history of football is littered with bright young stars who didn’t quite fulfill their early potential for one reason or another. But Bertrand Traore surely has a better chance than most of his predecessors to prove himself a special one under the “special one”? If not the new Pelé, he could well be his club’s next Didier Drogba.