Following a successful loan spell at Ajax last season which saw him reach the Europa League finals, Bertrand Traoré decided to remove himself from the loan circulation at Chelsea and transfer to French club Olympique Lyonnais during the summer transfer window. Thus far the move has proven to be a good decision by the 22-year-old, as he’s featured constantly in his team's starting line-ups, and has repaid that faith with 4 goals in 14 appearances — including a goal in the 2-1 win over Everton for the Europa League group stage.
"Going from Chelsea was the best decision for me. I am enjoying myself, as a young player you can only improve if you are playing every week."
"I enjoyed my time at Chelsea and when I had opportunities to show what I could do on the pitch, I took them with both hands. But there weren't any guarantee I would play."
"I would be happy if it was me in the Chelsea first-team playing every weekend, but this is football and you have to take decisions. Along with Chelsea, I took the decision to sign for Lyon and I am happy with that."
The two constant questions that get asked from former Chelsea loanees who end up leaving the club are whether they regret any of their time or decisions while at the club and whether they’d be open to a return in the future. In football, that future is almost impossible to tell in the definitive, but Traoré does not hold any major grudges that would prevent him from doing so. And that’s certainly a plus considering that Chelsea and Lyon supposedly have a “gentlemen’s agreement” over a potential buy-back clause (which are officially not allowed by the French FA). Traoré’s deal to Lyon seemed a bit below market rate, and that would also support the idea of a side-agreement regarding future considerations.
"Why not [go back to Chelsea]? It is up to me to develop and progress as a player and prove that I am good enough to play in the Premier League. Others went back, it is a possibility. I have to focus on Lyon, do my best and see what I do in the future."
-Bertrand Traoré; source: Daily Mail
Traoré, for whom Chelsea went to great lengths to keep in the Academy, may yet follow in the footsteps of Nemanja Matic and David Luiz as players who left the Bridge and returned in a much improved form. And even if a Chelsea return is not on the cards for him, he’s undoubtedly set for a bright future in the top level of the professional game.