EXCLUSIVE: Traoré driven by Fergie promise
By M. Spiro
Alain Traoré will be looking to return to top of the scorers chart against Rennes on Sunday, the Auxerre playmaker telling Ligue1.com of an ambitious streak that dates back to a brief stint in the red half of Manchester.
Auxerre midfielder Traoré has been one of the revelations of the Ligue 1 season, his dynamic performances attracting the attentions of several top clubs in Europe. The 22-year-old Burkina Faso international might have risen to prominence sooner had his mooted switch to Manchester United in 2006 come off, but Traoré told Ligue1.com he will never forget the time he spent in the company of Sir Alex Ferguson.
'Fergie wanted to keep me'
"I went to Manchester United for a one-month trial when I was 17," revealed Traoré, whose ferocious shooting has seen him score six goals this term. "It went well and Sir Alex said he wanted to keep me. But it was impossible to get a work permit. He suggested I go to a Belgian club initially, but I also had the chance to sign for Auxerre."
Traoré joined the Burgundy side as an 18-year-old and has since worked his way into the Auxerre first team, scoring five goals in 20 appearances last term before making a huge impression at the beginning of the current campaign, and he says that the iconic Man U manager made a lasting impression on his ambitions and his appreciation of what it takes to succeed.
"I'll never forget the discussion I had with Ferguson in his office," recounted Traoré. "He had this picture of some homeless people and another picture of David Beckham with some other stars celebrating with a trophy. He told me that it was up to me to decide which scenario I wanted. He said if I worked hard I could have the same success as Beckham."
'My left foot'
Ferguson also told Traoré that he was blessed with natural assets, not unlike a certain Welsh wing wizard: "I also remember he was impressed with my left foot," Traoré continued. "He said 'Alain, it's better to have one great foot than two average feet; just look at Ryan Giggs'. It was a great moment."
Ferguson's loss has been Laurent Fournier’s gain. The 'Paul Scholes of Auxerre' is tied to the Burgundy club until 2015 and insists he has no intention of quitting the club any time soon.