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Cheat code? Superhero? What exactly is the inimitable Adama Traore?

At his best, Adama Traore takes the form of a superhero.

A hulking figure of phenomenal speed with the comically muscular thighs of a WWE wrestler, he swats aside defenders the way Superman dispatches Lex Luthor’s henchmen.

His football is different to that of his peers.

It’s not necessarily better, but its distinctiveness must be celebrated.

Not your average Premier League footballer

Getty - Contributor
Not your average Premier League footballer

You wonder what the 23-year-old thinks of players who confuse things by approaching the goal through a series of deft touches, weighted passes and stealthy movement.

Such subtlety is redundant in the Wolves winger’s world.

Like Forrest Gump, Traore just runs.

In the Premier League, only Wilfried Zaha has attempted and completed more dribbles this season.

However, Crystal Palace’s talisman has a dribble success rate of 57.6%, considerably lower than Traore’s 68.1%.

In fact, only Mateo Kovacic has a greater dribble success rate than Wolves’ No37, but the Croatian has attempted 45 fewer dribbles in 2019/20.

All stats provided by Opta

Getty Images - Getty
All stats provided by Opta

Zaha and Traore are out on their own in terms of dribbles completed, which is the key statistic as successful dribbles are what cause problems for opponents.

The former has been successful 83 times this season, while the latter moved to 79 after a rampant display at Norwich.

No other player has completed more than 60 dribbles at this stage of the campaign.

Tactically, Wolves are more diverse than Palace, who are more reliant on their key attacker (Zaha) than any other team in the league.

Nuno Espirito Santo knows more ways to skin a cat.

So for Traore to be rivalling Zaha in this statistic suggests a player of unique (and specific) ability.

Hes’ coming for you, Wilf

Hes’ coming for you, Wilf

Extraordinary statistics are nothing new to the Spanish sprinter.

In 2017/18, when he was with Middlesbrough in the Championship, he averaged nearly ten dribbles a game, more than 14 teams — yes, TEAMS.

That’s remarkable enough as it is but even more so when you consider the fact he only started approximately half of Boro’s games that season.

He completed more dribbles than his two closest rivals (Luke Freeman and Ollie Watkins) combined.

In case his freakish ball-carrying ability hasn’t been demonstrated already: Traore completed 30 more dribbles than the entire Burnley squad in 2017/18.

In this regard, he is a cheat code.


Getty - Contributor

When Traore travels from his half to the opponent’s box – embarrassing three players en route – he looks like an overpowered PlayStation character.

The criticism has always been of his end product.
Too often his runs have ended with him smashing the ball into the lap of a season ticket holder.

This frustrating habit tested Barcelona’s patience — the Catalan giants sold him to Aston Villa in 2015 when he was 19, including a three-year buy-back clause on the off-chance the missing piece to his puzzle was located.

Raw talent

Getty - Contributor
Raw talent

In the second tier with Boro, he managed five goals and ten assists — respectable numbers, but not reflective of his unplayable threat.

The same could be said for this season.

He has scored three league goals and provided the same number of assists in the Premier League at this stage of the campaign.

One statistic that highlights the problems he causes for opponents is the 18 bookings he has induced.

No player has been on the receiving end of more yellow-card fouls in 2019/20.

Spurs resorted to fouling Traore last weekend as they failed to cope with his acceleration and yesterday, Sam Byram indulged in the dark arts to halt the winger by hook or crook.

In all competitions, the number of players booked for fouls on Traore rises further to 25 players in 27 games.

Shock and awe

Rex Features
Shock and awe

Traore excels in intangibles.

It’s impossible to fully measure the effect his unique style has on opponents — it’s certainly more punishing than his six goal involvements suggests.

Any player that defies statistics in such a way is worth the admission fee to watch them play.

More importantly, Traore’s threat has facilitated Wolves’ reversal of their early-season form that has put them in the race for Champions League qualification while simultaneously progressing in the Europa League.

Inimitable, indefinable, irreplaceable — the Molineux faithful wouldn’t have him any other way.

NEXT: Why Xabi Alonso and Mikel Arteta are football’s ultimate star-crossed lovers