Why signing Armand Traore is a smart move by Cardiff City
The 30-year-old, who spent the second half of the 2017-18 campaign on loan at Cardiff City from Nottingham Forest, made four appearances during the Bluebirds’ promotion-winning campaign before departing for Caykur Rizespor in Turkey.
Traore, who joined Arsenal from Monaco as a teenager back in 2005, burst on to the scene for the Gunners in the 2006-07 season and went on to accumulate 32 appearances across all competitions, while also spending time on loan at Portsmouth in the Premier League and Juventus in Italy.
Having struggled to establish himself as a regular fixture at Arsenal, the former Senegalese international settled down at QPR and excelled in the Premier League and the Championship over the course of his five-year stay at Loftus Road before completing a move to Nottingham Forest in 2016.
Traore only played a bit-part role at the City Ground in his debut season and was shipped out on loan to Cardiff City for the second half of the 2017-18 campaign, where he guided the Bluebirds to Premier League promotion.
However, the 30-year-old’s stint at Caykur Rizespor in Turkey didn’t really go according to the script and he found himself lost in the cold following his demotion to the U-21s after the Turkish outfit was forced to limit the number of foreign players registered in the team.
To put things into perspective, Cardiff City have completed a smart piece of business by snapping up Armand Traore as a free-agent on a short-term deal to increase competition for places at the back.
The Bluebirds have been crying out for more depth in the full-back department and the acquisition of Traore is likely to go a long way towards sorting out depth issues for Neil Warnock in the coming months, albeit only for a short duration.
Following a rather mediocre start to the campaign, the Bluebirds are yet to live up to the hype of starting the season as one of the outright promotion favourites.
Having conceded 22 goals in 15 games, Warnock should be more than happy with the arrival of Traore, who has played under him before and boasts of the experience of playing for Arsenal and Juventus in his CV.
Despite the fact that the 30-year-old hasn’t played a lot of football in recent times and his match fitness could be a matter of concern, having him back on a short-term deal looks like a smart move given that the Bluebirds currently have Joe Bennett as the only senior option at left-back.
Bennett has started each of Cardiff’s first 15 fixtures in the Championship so far and while he hasn’t been outrightly poor, one does get the feeling that the 29-year-old is going to find himself under some kind of pressure to raise the bar in the coming days with Traore now in the squad as an experienced head to compete for a place in the playing eleven.
Having an experienced player like Armand Traore in the ranks is also expected to have a positive influence on the development of youngster Ciaron Brown, who recently made his senior international debut for Northern Ireland.
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Bennett is expected to continue as the first-choice but with Traore now in the ranks, Cardiff City certainly look like a more formidable defensive unit, and this looks like a move that could well pay off handsomely.