Promoted after just one season out of the Premier League, Newcastle United are determined to not just survive in the top flight but thrive. The Magpies are in talks with local rivals, Middlesbrough, over Adama Traore, 21, with Karl Darlow, 26, making the opposite journey, according to the Newcastle Chronicle.
Rafa Benitez is determined to create competition within his squad for places to ensure performance levels don’t drop. Matt Ritchie, the 27-year-old Scottish international, is assured of the left-sided role in the starting line-up but on the left, it’s up for grabs.
Christian Atsu, 25, and Roland Aarons, 21, are the squad’s other out-and-out wingers. Traore, tutored in Barcelona before moving to Aston Villa and then onto Teeside, is highly regarded by former manager, Aitor Karanka.
The former Real Madrid defender observed that Traore “has a lot of good things in front of him, he has a big future and he’s learning.” After exploding onto the English Premier League with Villa, the winger capped at junior levels by La Roja, Traore left when the Villans fell into the Championship.
A move to newly-promoted Middlesbrough proved equally fruitless as ‘Boro slumped into the relegation zone. His stats for season sum up their problems; 28 appearances, no goals. That aspect of his game will be the doubt in Benitez’s mind but given his success in transforming players under his wing last season, there’s no reason to think he won’t enjoy the same this time around.