Rising Star: Alain Traoré
In signing Alain Traoré from Auxerre for 2 million Euros, Lorient may just have pulled off the coup of the summer. The 24-year-old exploded on to the Ligue 1 scene last season and looks set to keep it up this season. Exclusive.
The Burkina Faso international's sublime talent has been obvious from a young age. He had a successful trial with Manchester United at 17, only for work permit issues to scupper a move to Old Trafford. Instead, Traore joined Auxerre, where he signalled his intent with nine goals and three assists in 27 appearances for the Burgundy outfit.
"Now I have to carry my form in to this season," he told Ligue1.com. "From a personal point of view, last year went well. But I have to confirm my progression before thinking about anything else. I think joining Lorient is a sound choice. I can continue improving and growing here."
Traoré's nine league goals - many of which were spectacular - couldn't prevent Auxerre from being relegated last term. However, the young schemer was desperate to remain in the top tier and believes he can continue to blossom at Lorient.
A question of style
"Everyone knows Lorient are a club that play good football," he explained. "They're very attractive because of that. I chose Lorient because of their style of play; they play quick, passing football with one or two touches."
The early signs are extremely encouraging and Traoré was a constant thorn in PSG's side on his Lorient debut at the Parc des Princes in Week 1's 2-2 draw.
Then Traoré scored his first goal for his new club against champions Montpellier in Week 2, levelling the contest in dramatic fashion before Les Merlus clinched a second injury-time goal to defeat the reigning Ligue 1 champions. Little wonder that coach Christian Gourcuff is happy with the new recruit.
"He's satisfied with what I've done so far," Traoré said of his new coach. "But the ball is in my court. It's up to me to keep on working hard so that I seal my place in the team."
At a time when Manchester United are said to lack creativity in midfield, Sir Alex Ferguson may look at Traoré's progression with a wistful eye. But Europe's biggest clubs won't be closing the door on the 23 year-old if his current form continues much longer.