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Keep, Sell, Loan: Bertrand Traoré's 2015-16 season in review

Taking a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of each and every Chelsea player's season. Next up, the first Burkinabé player to ever play - and score - in a Premier League match.

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Appearances: 4 starts (+12 as substitute).
Minutes: 373 in Premier League; 97 in domestic cups; 43 in Champions League.
Statistics (per 90 minutes, Premier League): 0.47 goals (no penalties); 0.23 assists; 3.97 shots (2.38 on target).

Bertrand Traoré made his first (unofficial) appearance for Chelsea as a trialist in a 2013 preseason match against the Singha All Stars in Thailand. He had been on trial several times with the youth team in the years prior, before finally being allowed by FIFA rules to sing a professional contract in October 2013.  He spent most of the next year and a half on loan at Vitesse, developing from a left-footed right winger to a prolific center forward.

On his return to Chelsea, Traoré did enough in preseason to earn José Mourinho's trust and be a part of our first team entering the 2015-16 season. But as a fourth-string striker behind Diego Costa, Radamel Falcao and Loïc Rémy, plus with Willian locking down the right flank, Traoré was limited to just three appearances — all substitute — while Mourinho was still at the club. Even when the three veteran strikers ahead of him in the pecking order added injury to their poor form in front of goal, Traoré's outlook didn't change for the better.  Rumors of another loan move starting in the winter transfer window started to pick up.

Chelsea scout and Roman Abramovich "adviser" Piet de Visser had his fair share of criticisms on Traoré's situation at Chelsea, claiming that the Blues were wasting the kid's talent on the bench when he could have gone on loan to another club instead. One of the clubs heavily interested were Ajax, who were looking for the youngster to aid their quest in getting another Eredivisie title - the 34th in their history. But new manager Guus Hiddink had plans for the young attacker.

Hiddink gave Traoré a short stint in our first FA Cup match of the season against Scunthorpe in January, with the Burkinabé striker taking the pitch in the closing minutes of the game. He had a chance to come from the bench once again in the next FA Cup game against MK Dons.  After just five minutes of being on the pitch, Traoré scored his first Chelsea goal.

After then, Traoré started three matches lined up as striker and one as a right winger while scoring three more goals and assisting once in over 11 appearances.

The Good: Traoré first official goal as a Chelsea player via an Eden Hazard assist.

The Bad: Ineffective substitute appearances, such as the one against Swansea City away.

Verdict: As one of the few youngsters in recent years to be somewhat integrated into the Chelsea first team, it's hard not to have a soft spot for Traoré. But this shouldn't cloud our judgement while analysing the player going forward, vis a vis his current ability to be a second choice striker to a team with expectations of returning to Champions League football and perhaps deep runs in the domestic cups.

Like fellow youngster Kenedy, Traoré still has a lot to work on his game, especially when it comes to his first touch and controlling the ball in possession. He has plenty of pace for a striker and can be a great finisher, although it might be better for him to curb the constant attempts at long-ranged shots and instead work to get in more dangerous positions.

He may be "rough around the edges", but Traoré can provide quality depth, that much he's already proven.  One gets the feeling the 20-year-old would've played less had there been fewer injuries and suspensions for other strikers, but he did just fine when called upon.  Sending him out on a loan at this point could be considered a step backwards in his career, even if it might promise more actual time on the pitch.

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