Transfer Opinion: Why Newcastle must avoid splashing cash on Champions League quarter finalist

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All season long, a major concern for Steve Bruce has been that Newcastle are woefully short of firepower in attack. Jonjo Shelvey finished as the Toon’s top-scorer on six strikes in the 2019/20 campaign, and the Magpies boss appears to be already searching for reinforcements in the transfer window. One player who has been linked with a switch to St James’ Park, and a return to the Premier League, is Bertrand Traore.

The former Chelsea forward can play either as a winger or lead the line himself, but Newcastle should be very cautious about a move for the Burkina Faso international. Based on his form in the French top-flight this term, before the season was curtailed, Traore may not provide the solution to Newcastle’s attacking impotence as he scored just once in 23 appearances.

His one goal was Traore’s lowest total since joining the Ligue 1 side, and there has been a steady decline during his three seasons with Lyon. After scoring 13 goals in his debut campaign with the French side, Traore then mustered just seven goals the following term, dropping to only one this season.

Based on his current trajectory, there is little to suggest that the 24-year-old could arrive at St James’ Park and reinvigorate Newcastle’s forward line, as Traore has also contributed just three assists this term. In total the forward has only set teammates up to score on nine occasions in 88 Ligue 1 matches, one every 9.7 games.

While at Chelsea, after emerging as a prospect through their youth academy, Traore did show some impressive signs, scoring twice and assisting once in four Premier League starts during the 2015/16 campaign. Even so, he was promptly moved on to Ajax, on loan, where he reached the Europa League final, both scoring and assisting four goals as the Dutch giants ended the tournament as runners up to Manchester United.

Given Traore scored half as many goals as Joelinton’s two last season, and that Bruce admitted he was not a “natural goalscorer“, it appears the 24-year-old fits the same category. Considering Traore has been so desperately short of goals of late, he would be best avoided this transfer window by Newcastle. He should be left to Leicester City, Everton and Crystal Palace, who are also reportedly interested.

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