Adama Traore. Sigh, swoon, right? Riiiight.
After his goal against Huesca, the hype rose to an even higher level for this astonishing talent who has an even more astonishing physique. But let’s have a closer look at the situation, how it is and what it might or might not mean.
Traore scored that goal against Huesca, a Segunda B side. He should have done exactly what he did, which was own those defenders with pace and strength, and put the ball past the keeper. It’s just as the first team, which won the match 8-1, was supposed to do, particularly as Huesca’s lineup was chosen with its real competition (they are currently top in Segunda B) in mind.
So what do we have with Adama Traore, besides blinding talent in a man’s body?
Don’t know yet. Could be Neymar with power, could be Deulofeu with muscles. But a few things have to happen for us to know decisively, all most likely away from Barça.
Any talent needs time to grow, come into its own and get nurtured in the hands of a talented coach. That talent also needs regular time in a group that is good enough to force it to grow, but not so good that it is always floundering. This means a very, very carefully selected loan team for a player such as that, a player such as Traore.
Even as people are suggesting that he get more first-team time, the question is always, “Where?” A group of supporters that demands a Treble-quality player of any and all transfers or people are stupid, will have how much patience with a young player trying to learn the game at the highest level.
Couple that with a coach who is playing for wins and championships as well as his own hide, and what do we reckon is going to happen to Adama when he is promoted? More time than Sergi Roberto, less time than Tello? So a loan would seem the obvious conclusion, even as that would spark the “Another Thiago!” supporter cries of a club that would appear to be shipping its best talent away as people lose knowledge of how a player transfer works.
Traore needs playing time. He made it look easy against Huesca. He makes it look less so in Barça B, though his talent is apparent and his future bright. The few times that we have seen him with the first team against quality opposition, he has demonstrated the same dart for the end line/suspect decision making under pressure as Deulofeu, along with that something special that special players have. You also noticed that during the Huesca match, off the ball he was walking around, not disinterested but kind of disconnected. There is a lot of learning to do, even as his up side is colossal.
Traore needs to come up against a defender as big and strong as he is, needs to be put on his butt, needs to have his runs to the end line walled off so they become high-speed darts to nowhere. He needs all of this so that he can become everything that he can be, so that we can see exactly how good he is.
The next Munir?
Development in a calm environment is also important. Munir scored a few goals, and people were ready to anoint the hell out of that dude. Now that he isn’t scoring them, people are wondering what’s wrong, and suggesting Sandro should leapfrog him, etc. Forgetting for an instant about what seeing that kind of stuff does to a young player’s confidence, Munir is pretty much doing exactly what he should be doing.
He’s too good for B, but not yet good enough for the first team. How he is going to get the playing time to develop into the kind of player that he needs to be is beyond me. Copa matches won’t really do it until later in the competition, but then a coach who is wanting to win the tournament will be bringing more and more first-teamers into the side. So does Munir get garbage time runs, or will it be time to consider a loan for him next summer, as well?
Hype explodes fast, and can kill just as quickly. Gai Assulin was the next Messi. Bojan Krkic was the Boy of a Thousand Goals. Each one ascended fast, then hit a talent ceiling. People talked about Deulofeu as they are talking about Adama. These days, Deulofeu isn’t an automatic starter at Sevilla, much less Barça. Players don’t develop as their talent dictates. Other times they do, but that level just isn’t sufficient. It happens, but we don’t know what will happen unless we let it, and stop trying to rush it.
Traore’s goal was brilliant, but it was men against boys. A few have suggested in social media that next year he should be getting looks in that Cuadrado-type role as the club begins to phase out Pedro. Hype is lovely, but Pedro is a first-team selection for Spain, and a favorite of his current club coach, for good reason even as he has his detractors. A newly promoted youth player learning the game is not ready to displace a high-quality veteran.
Traore, like Munir and Sandro, need time and patience, that last in short supply from an increasingly panicked fan base. Let’s say next season Traore gets that run out, gets turned by his man who gets loose and scores or assists a goal. Given the reactions to conceded goals of late, what then? A proper reaction would be, “He’s still learning the game, and mistakes will come,” right? But Douglas can’t even perform a logical back pass without the multitudes screaming “What a crap player! That back pass was terrible! Why did we buy him?!”
Munir’s bandwagon is a little lighter, even as he is exactly on schedule. Deulofeu is behind schedule. Sandro is as yet uncertain, but he’s another player who will have to struggle to find time as we discover whether he is the real thing, or the next Jonathan Soriano, a quality player in a lesser-quality first division league.
Barça right now have a great many players who need time and development, who are fast becoming good enough even as we don’t quite know how good they are, yet. The Adamaboom echoes the Deulohype. But the club also has Munir, Sandro, Samper, Halilovic and Grimaldo, all of whom will be ready for something more next season. What, and whether they can get it at Barça will be a complex debate. Complicating everything else is that the likes of Denis Suarez and the aforementioned Deulofeu will be on the radar.
Something has to give, and it should start with the propensity to hype the hell out of something really good. Traore is a talented young player. Take that for what it is, just as was cautioned with Munir, when his hype balloon began to inflate.
Let things happen, and see what develops. Breathe deep, and enjoy all the talent that we have, while we have it. Because even when we think we have it, as we did with Assulin, Krkic and potentially Deulofeu, it sometimes works out that we don’t have it.