Hands up who saw this one coming? Well, after the rumours circulated in the past few days, I guess we all had a good idea but rewind a couple of months and I never thought I would be typing this sentence: Adama Traore has left Barcelona to join...Aston Villa as BBC report that a deal has been completed for a fee believed to be in the region of £7 million, or more likely, €10 million.
No disrespect meant to any Villa fans who have stumbled upon this Blaugrana-tinted portion of the web (although to those who have, check out our sister site, 7500 to Holte for more coverage on this deal), but it really is a surprise to see Adama settle for a move to the Midlands. As a youngster in the La Masia academy, Adama was tipped to be the next big thing. He had it all -- pace and power with the technical ability to match, it seemed like it was just a matter of time before he broke into the senior ranks.
Then Barcelona B got relegated in the season that Barcelona bought Luis Suarez to create the best attacking trio in the history of the game; suddenly, Adama's path to the first team was not only blocked, but it had completely eroded. Facing the prospect of at least a season in the third tier of Spanish football if he remained at the club, Adama was smart to seek an exit. However, to leave on a permanent basis, and to Aston Villa rather than say, a Liverpool, or even a Stoke -- it's strange.
On the plus side, Adama's route to the first team at Villa shouldn't be as tricky. He can establish himself from day one -- but there remains a risk that he won't break into the team and is the possibility of trading Barcelona for the Aston Villa bench a wise career move? Whatever the case, Barcelona have the option to exercise a buyback clause for the first three years of his contract in England and will retain a right of first refusal for any future transfer.
Adama certainly has the talent, and of course, I wish him all the best in this move. It's a gutsy call, but will it pay off?