Manchester City and Juventus have moved ahead of Barcelona in pursuit of Wolves winger Adama Traore, sources have told ESPN, with the 24-year-old set to spark a summer transfer battle if Nuno Espirito Santo’s team fail to qualify for the Champions League.
Traore, who moved to Wolves from Middlesbrough in an £18 million deal in August 2018, has become one of the most improved players in the Premier League this season.
He has scored four goals and registered nine assists — second only to City’s Kevin De Bruyne this term — as the Molineux side have maintained a push for Champions League qualification.
Sources have told ESPN that, with three years left to run on his Wolves contract, Traore would remain at Molineux next season if the club can clinch a Champions League spot either through the Premier League or by winning the Europa League.
But if they miss out, Juventus and City are prepared to make a move for Traore this summer, with Barcelona having made it clear that they will only attempt to sign the player in 12 months time due to a necessity to focus on outgoings from Camp Nou at the end of this season.
City are in the market for a winger to replace Leroy Sane, who completed an initial €49m move to Bayern Munich last week.
City manager Pep Guardiola has identified Burnley’s Dwight McNeil as one option. Traore’s form this season has elevated him ahead of McNeil, but his valuation is likely to be in the region of £80m due to the remaining time on his Wolves contract.
Juventus need to reduce the average age of their attacking options, with Cristiano Ronaldo (35), Juan Cuadrado (32) and Douglas Costa (29) all in, or approaching, the twilight of their careers.
With Traore having started his career in Barcelona’s B team, the club have maintained an interest in his progress in England since selling him to Aston Villa in 2015.
But a return to Camp Nou is only likely if Traore spends another year at Wolves before opening the door to a move back to Barcelona at the end of next season.