When Adama Traore made his loan move to Barcelona, quite a few Wolves fans expected that to be the end of his Molineux career.
And after he wowed in his first few games, there was surely no way anything else but a permanent transfer to Barcelona was happening this summer.
But Traore very quickly became a bit-part player at the Nou Camp, as Xavi turned to Ousmane Dembele and others ahead of him.
In the end, Traore made just 16 appearances for the club.
Barca didn’t exercise their option to buy clause, and the 26-year-old is now back with his Wolves teammates. And we’ve heard very little with regards to interest from other clubs.
He’s been nursing a hamstring injury over the past few weeks, and has not yet seen any minutes for the club in pre-season.
It remains to be seen if he’ll be able to feature against Sporting CP or SC Farense this weekend.
Given the injury news about Raul Jimenez, Bruno Lage might be hoping he’s able to play some part.
The Mexican is going to miss several weeks for the club after sustaining damage to his MCL.
Fans are imploring Wolves officials to sign a replacement. That is surely very likely, but journalist Liam Keen has suggested it may not happen straight away as the club seek to sign the right player.
So Lage could be set to shoehorn someone into Jimenez’s position – and maybe Traore could be the man for the job.
Adama Traore could be a real handful through the middle for Wolves
We know that Traore is far from clinical.
But obviously he is blessed with remarkable physical qualities that can make life difficult for anyone.
We’ve seen him play through the middle before. One thinks back to the two goals he got against Manchester City in the 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium in 2019.
Lage has seemingly not been wholly taken by Traore during his time as manager of Wolves so far. Quite often last term, he plumped for the more technical Francisco Trincao on the right side.
But maybe he’ll see potential in Traore to play through the middle where he could use that electric pace to spring the offside trap.
It can be argued as well that Traore can be even more unpredictable through the middle, since there is more space inside than on the wing.