Bertrand Traore completed his move to Chelsea today (Wednesday) and immediately sat down with the official website to discuss the transfer.
The 18-year-old agreed to sign a four-and-a-half year contract with the club back in October, and with the opening of the January transfer window, he makes the switch from Association Jeunes Espoirs De Bobo-Dioulasso in his native Burkina Faso.
Traore is a full international having made his debut in September 2011 a few days before his 16th birthday, and he made one substitute appearance at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
An attacking midfielder, Traore was taken as a trialist on Chelsea’s tour of Asia in the summer and played a part in all three games, scoring in Malaysia and in Indonesia.
Bertrand, welcome to Chelsea. How happy were you with our trial period during the summer?
‘I was very happy. It was a good experience with all the senior players and I learned a lot from them. I was very proud, so it was a dream for me to be there every day and playing games. Of course I was a little bit nervous but after two or three days I was okay.’
Did you feel at home in training?
‘On the pitch I was comfortable, I wasn’t nervous once I was on the pitch. Jose Mourinho spoke a lot during training and he is one of the best managers, maybe the best in the world. He is a very good person and it is a dream for me to work with him. I can now say I am living a dream.’
Did the squad make you sing an initiation song?
‘Yes, I sang a French song, in French!’
How would you describe your style of play?
‘I’m an attacking midfielder. I can play in the number 10 position, I can play on the wings and I’m good on the ball. I can shoot well and am strong in a one v one situation, so I can score goals.’
Who are your influences as a player?
‘My favourite players are Juan Mata, Mesut Ozil and Eden Hazard. They’re very good players and I am trying to be like them. At Chelsea I look to follow the way of some African legends like Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and now Samuel Eto’o.’
You’re still young but you’re a full international…
‘Yes, I played for my country, with my brother, Alain, who plays in the same position. He is the person I followed to be a footballer. I played in the African Cup of Nations which was a good experience, and now I’m not scared of big games. I feel very comfortable.’
– A clip of Bertrand Traore’s first interview with Chelsea TV can be viewed above with the full interview available now via the channel’s online access.