With no goal in over a year, the drop in form of dynamic and explosive winger Adama Traore has coincided with the overall struggles faced by Wolverhampton Wanderers. Once considered one of the league’s most exciting sides, Wolves are suffering a post-European and COVID hangover, which has seen them fall into trouble.
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Adama Traore Struggling for Form
Hot-Prospect Traore on Severe Goal Drought
Rushing back to the centre circle, ball in hand and Molineux in raptures, it seemed Adama Traore had the world at his feet. Traore’s 25-yard strike against Manchester City in December 2019 was the first in a memorable comeback victory for Wolves – over one year later and the Spanish international has managed just one goal since.
Without a goal or an assist in 18 Premier League appearances this season, it’s easy to forget that less than six months ago Traore was being linked with moves to a whole host of top European clubs. A product of Barcelona’s La Masia academy, the wingers’ career had stalled before he arrived at Wolves and a revived Traore made an impressive 15 goal and assist contributions during the 2019/20 season.
Traore was just one member in a talented core of Wolves players who, under the tutelage of charismatic boss Nuno Espírito Santo, had joined the side and transformed their fortunes. From the Championship to a Europa League quarter-final in less than three seasons, with an FA Cup semi-final thrown in for good measure, the future of the club looked promising.
Yet after the latest defeat against favourites for the drop and Black Country rivals West Bromwich Albion, the club that were tipped to break into the Champions League positions not too long ago, are sleepwalking into a relegation battle.
Wolverhampton Struggles This Season
It’s just one win in nine for Wolves in the Premier League, a run which has seen the goals dry up and the floodgates open. Once lauded for their defensively astute three-at-the back set-up, guided by eternal club captain Conor Coady, the club from the West Midlands have the third-worst defensive record in the league.
Their struggles were amplified after talismanic marksman Raul Jiménez, was ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a fractured skull in a November 2020 victory against Arsenal – nearly two months since the injury, the Mexican is still Wolves’ top scorer this season.
His replacement, 18-year-old Fabio Silva, has understandably struggled to fill the gap left by Jiménez. The latest in a long list of youngsters to switch the Portuguese Primeira Liga for Wolverhampton, Silva’s start to life has been steady but promising. Despite his potential, the lack of attacking productivity is proving to be a headache for Nuno and reinforcements may be needed during the January window if Wolves are to end the 2020/21 season problem-free.
Molineux has stood as a fortress for Wolves since their return to the Premier League and the side only lost four times at home in the 2019/20 season. At the mid-way point of the current campaign, they’ve already succumbed to the same number of defeats.
Whilst most clubs have suffered without fans, Wolves have crumbled. Travelling to Molineux was considered a challenge, as Pep Guardiola discovered when his City side threw away a 2-0 lead in that Adama Traore inspired comeback. Now silent and desolate on a matchday, the empty terraces of Molineux sit as solemn reminder of recent successes gone-by.
Traore Fits Wolverhampton Model
Supported by the patronage of super-agent Jorge Mendes, the Wolves model is to buy cheap, develop a
nd sell-on high. A reported £27 million profit was earned after the sale of starlet Diogo Jota to Liverpool in the close season. Similar figures were being banded around for Traore, yet it is hard to imagine on current form his sale would generate half of that.
Once one of the league’s hottest prospects, Traore’s demise is representative of Wolves’ struggles as a whole and the aim for the remainder of the season has to be consolidating their established position as a Premier League side; big clubs, with squads seemingly too good to go down have found themselves dragged into a fight for survival and perished. It isn’t impossible.
But even if Wolves are to steer themselves clear from the drop, the downwards trajectory of the club, failure to challenge for trophies and a lack of European football may be enough for their squad of talented prospects to pack up and seek success elsewhere.