Sheffield United & Rangers target Benie Traore breaks silence on transfer interest & agent influence

Blades interested in 12-goal winger-turned-striker ahead of PL adventure
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Benie Traore has hinted that he would be open to exploring a dream move to England this summer, amid transfer interest from Premier League new-boys Sheffield United. The 20-year-old has set the Swedish top-flight alight this season with 12 goals in his opening 14 games for Hacken in the Swedish top-flight, alerting United to his obvious abilities in front of goal amid a mooted £5m deal.

Glasgow giants Rangers have also made a play for Traore already this summer, with Hacken’s sporting director Martin Ericsson warning his star man’s suitors that it would take a “historic bid” to prise him away from the Allsvenken champions. Their previous record sale was a £3.5m deal which took Patrik Walemark to Feyenoord two years ago, with Ericsson appearing to pave the way for Traore’s departure by conceding there is a “reasonable” chance of a sale this summer.

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United’s potential path to signing Traore has been made smoother by the implementation of new Home Office rules governing the eligibility status of players from overseas who would not previously have qualified for a UK work permit. And speaking to Göteborgs-Posten recently, Traore opened up on the transfer speculation, admitting: “I think you never know if you’re ready or not.

“You just have to dare to take the chance and see for yourself. I’m a football player, I’m ready for most challenges. In my head I can play anywhere! My agent will make the best choices for me.”

Tobias Sana, Traore’s teammate at the Bravida Arena, has encouraged Traore to consider the opportunity of playing in a top league if it presents itself this summer. “If you get the chance, you should take it, I think,” the former Ajax man said. “At the same time, it must also work with the club’s finances.

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“We are going to play Champions League qualifiers, you might not sell right now; silly season is open all the way to August so there are many ways to go. I have been there; there are a lot of rumours about players. We play attractive football, we have a forward who scored twelve goals, we have Mikkel Rygaard who has nine assists and three goals or something...

“It is clear that in the end good footballers are sold. It’s not just him [Traoré] either. It is Ibrá [Sadiq] who has also been incredible, we have many good ones... Mommo Sonko who is incredible! Pontus Dahbo... a whole bunch. We have many talented footballers so it’s just fun to be in this team with both young and old. A good mix simply.”

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For his part, sporting director Ericsson appears relaxed about the prospect of Traore and more of Hacken’s star players - including midfielder Samuel Gustafso, Akoua Romeo and left-back Kristoffer Lund - this summer, after admitting there is “very broad interest” in Lund.

“It is part of my job,” he said. “There is also a prestige among us clubs to be able to sell talented players on, so that they perform in Europe. I see it more as a feather in the cap that we are doing something good. For us it is a ‘win-win’. We are in a good position where we can get paid well for our players or we keep them. I don’t think [we can keep them all]. I think we will see sales. How many and which ones, we will see.”

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