Football News

Nolito backs Adama Traore for La Liga reunion after Wolves star confessed “Barcelona is my home”

By Ben Green

Published: 18:18, 4 August 2021

Former Barcelona forward Nolito believes Wolves star Adama Traore has all the tools to return to Spain and be a major success story in La Liga.

Traore, 25, came through Barca’s famed La Masia academy during his formative years, making his senior debut as a replacement for Neymar at just 17 years of age in November 2013, before coming on for Cesc Fabregas later that month to make his Champions League bow.

However, with competition for places fiercely competitive in Catalonia, Traore sought more consistent playing time elsewhere and eventually upped sticks for the Premier League, initially joining Aston Villa in 2015, before moving on to Middlesbrough, and now Wolves.

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It has been at the Molineux where the winger has really come to the fore, flourishing under the guidance of Nuno Espirito Santo, who has since stepped down to join Tottenham, a club for whom Traore has now been linked with a move to.

Having amassed six caps for Spain since making his international debut last year, Traore has also seen his name heavily associated with a return to La Liga, a possibility endorsed by current Celta Vigo star and former Manchester City winger Nolito.

“To be honest, he is still young and has a lot of potential,” Nolito told Daily Mail.

“Can he play in La Liga? Of course he can, if he continues playing good seasons in the Premier League I am sure he could play in La Liga or with any team that wants him.”

Statistically — and quite unsurprisingly — no-one has been able to hold a candle to Lionel Messi in the dribbling department over the last few seasons, but Traore has held his own when it comes to completed take-ons, regularly showing full-backs a clean pair of heels in the Premier League.

The Spanish speedster combines brains and brawn to slalom past defenders which has culminated in him completed the second-most take-ons since his Wolves debut in 2018 across Europe’s top five leagues (401), placing only behind Messi (475).

In that time (from 2018/19) the duo are the only two players to clear the 400-mark for that particular metric, a fitting achievement given both players hailed from the same environment in Les Corts, fertile soil for future Ballon d’Or contenders.

Talk of a reunion with Barcelona is nothing new to Traore, a club who regularly brings back academy alumni, notably Gerard Pique, Cesc Fabregas and Jordi Alba, with the current Wolves favourite recently confessing Barca is his “home” and he will explore the possibility of a possible future return.

He told reporters in June: “Barcelona is my home. I grew up there, and was there for 10 years.

“I have to discuss things with my agents, and see what role Barca needs for a return.”