One of the most impressive players in today's preseason friendly was 17-year old Bertrand Traore. The youngster had a goal and an assist (and could have had more), to highlight his excellent all-around play.
Jose Mourinho was also impressed, and cleared up any confusion surrounding the player's contractual situation after the game:
'He is not a Chelsea player yet, he is a trialist. He's a 17-year-old kid and he had some movement and some touch on the ball, so you can imagine he is a good kid for the youth team.'
‘We want to keep him but have to wait until he becomes 18 to try to get a permit for him’, Chelsea manager Mourinho said when asked about Traore after the team’s game in Malaysia. If it's not possible we have to let him go on loan somewhere. We have the guarantee that he plays for his national team. This fact, I think, sooner or later, the committee has to give him a permit to play in England'
'His country is one of the most important in African football at this moment. If he plays in the African cup they will be a moment where he gets his permit and it’s fantastic to come here and play for Chelsea, and to play well.'
Traore turns 18 in September, so he won't be eligible to officially sign with the Blues until then. He currently falls short of the required percentage of caps in order to be automatically granted a permit, so he'd have to go through the application process. It's hard to say whether or not he'd be granted that permit, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if Traore ended up spending the season out on loan.
Either way, it doesn't look as if the permit will be a long term problem, as Mourinho seems to imply that hes got some guarantees from Burkina Faso. He was in the last Burkina Faso squad for World Cup qualifying, and will likely continue to be named as long as they return in the hunt for Brazil. Their next game is scheduled for his 18th birthday (September 6), and Burkina Faso need a win and some help in order to reach the qualifying playoff. Should he earn another cap, it would be his 9th since 2011, and that's something I'd think would give him a real chance of being granted a permit.
Regardless of where he spends the season, Traore looks like a wonderful talent that's going to be worth watching as much as possible this season. It's awfully fun watching the ridiculous amount of young talent that the Blues have at their disposal now, isn't it?