CHELSEA have finally completed the signing of African prodigy Bertrand Traore – four years after first targeting the midfielder.
Traore, who shone for the Blues on their pre-season tour of Asia – officially as a triallist – and turned 18 in September, has committed to the club until 2018.
Work permit issues and his minor status held up a permanent deal for the powerful youngster, who made his international debut for Burkina Faso aged 15 and has already won 10 caps.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho stated his intention to make Traore part of his plans after he scored two goals in three appearances on the summer tour.
He is said to have first caught the eye of Blues scouts at the Under-17 World Cup in 2009, where, aged just 14, he was the tournament’s youngest player. Premier League champions Manchester United were also linked with Traore, whose elder brother Alain once had a trial at Old Trafford and now plays in France, but the teenager favoured Chelsea for their African stars Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel, the latter two of whom are his new team-mates.
Chelsea currently have 18 players out on loan and one option for Traore is to follow that route.