Lacina Traore: Player Profile

Personal information 
Full name: Lacina Traore
Date of birth: 20 August 1990
Age: 23
Place of birth: Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Height: 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in)
Playing position: Striker

Club information 
Current club: Everton (on loan from Monaco)
Number: 28

Youth career
2006–2007 ASEC Mimosas

Senior career
2007–2008 Stade d'Abidjan 27 Appearances, 19 goals
2008–2011 CFR Cluj 63 Appearances, 20 goals
2011–2012 Kuban Krasnodar 39 Appearances, 19 goals
2012–2014 Anzhi Makhachkala 46 Appearances, 19 goals
2014– Monaco 0 Appearances, 0 goals
2014→ Everton (loan) 1 Appearance, 1 goal

National team
2011 Ivory Coast U23 5 Appearances, 3 goals
2012– Ivory Coast 7 Appearances, 4 goals

Everton's on-loan 6ft 8ins striker Lacina Traore  marked his debut by scoring after just four minutes in the 3-1 win over Swansea.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has been praised, quite rightly, for his summer transfer dealings.

The former Wigan manager wasn’t shy to turn to the market during his maiden months in the Toffees hot-seat and his pre-season acquisitions helped the Blues to enjoy a strong start.

The quartet brought from Martinez’s Wigan side, Joel, Antolin Alcaraz, Arouna Kone and James McCarthy, have perhaps, been slightly less impressive, but injuries have certainly played their part here.

McCarthy, in particular, looks set to be a big part of the club’s future.

During the recent January transfer window, the Spaniard again looked to increase his personnel options.

Aiden McGeady was brought in from Spartak Moscow to supplement the squad’s wide options, while Lacina Traore was recruited on loan from Monaco until the season’s close.

Lacina Traore - nicknamed the ‘Gentle Giant’ is a striker whose full potential remains untapped, but his loan spell with Everton could provide him with the perfect platform.

The first thing you notice about Traore, and indeed, the first thing anyone points out when referencing the player, is his size.

In this particular situation, when advocating a player’s qualities in the Premier League context, it seems like a reasonable time to celebrate his physical profile.

At 6'8 feet tall, Traore is one inch taller than Peter Crouch, and the former Liverpool player is not a bad point of reference here.

Like Crouch, at least when he played in the international arena with England, Traore’s mere presence is often enough to unsettle defences.

Even the most composed and powerful centre-back may well find himself unnerved by the prospect of a man much taller than him bustling forward and attempting to meet high balls and win aerial contests.

Traore largely succeeds in perturbing defenders and making the visible advantage a tangible difference.

His aerial menace and the physical impact he can have as the spearhead of a side is not wholly dissimilar to Christian Benteke last term or even the man he will be understudying on Merseyside, Lukaku.

The finest comparison we can draw here though is probably Didier Drogba, the iconic Ivorian forward who stands ahead of Traore in the national team set-up.

Like the former Chelsea hero, Traore has impressive technical prowess and an explosive turn of pace.

This is not some kind of bullish target man who will intimidate and outmuscle for the benefit of the team.

Nor is he an Elephantine Emile Heskey, slogging and labouring to make space for nimbler, more effective colleagues.

Traore also possesses a fairly temperamental streak, and isn't adverse to causing his fair share of controversy.

The nature of this deal, however, should mean that this isn't an issue for Everton.

Traore has an explosive shot, a sure first touch and, should he be required to play in a slightly deeper role, perhaps in support of a striker, his passing ability is adequate enough for this role.

Last season, Everton fans witnessed Marouane Fellaini thriving as an attacking midfielder behind a sole frontman.

Ideally, Traore would rather play slightly further forward than this, but if this is an aspect of Martinez’s vision for his new recruit, then Blues fans should be encouraged.

A further factor that should help him make the most of the coming four months is his desire and appetite to make the most of the opportunity afforded to him.

In principle, this might not necessarily be the case; loanees aren’t always the most motivated of squad members, and to leave Russia for the glamour of Monaco, only to be sent off directly to Everton might not appeal to everyone.

However, there are two key reasons why Traore might well have the appetite for such a move.

First of all, the striker has previously made no secret of his desire to one day play in the Premier League.

Admittedly, it might have been the dissatisfaction of life at Anzhi Makhachkala talking, but Traore has courted interest from EPL sides in the past, notably Liverpool and Arsenal, and may well see this period at Everton as a golden opportunity to sell himself to potential employers further down the line.

Secondly, the imminent World Cup will surely be another factor that ought to motivate Traore to do his absolute best to succeed at Goodison Park.

The striker has been ever-present in the Elephants’ national side over the last year, but while he has never missed a call-up, his playing time has been limited.

Of the nation’s last 16 games, he has started only four, come on as a substitute in a further three and remained on the bench for nine.

Despite his impressive four goals, he has been largely unable to improve his minutes.

Traore should be hugely motivated to star for Everton over the coming months.

If he can do so, then this might help him earn some playing time on the grandest stage of all.

If he cannot make an impact on Merseyside, then he may well allow the competition to overtake him.

Everton have been flagging in recent weeks; the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, unjust as it was, comes, worryingly, on the back of a devastating defeat to local rivals Liverpool.

In the race for the top four, Everton have lost considerable momentum and needed an injection of something, something new, something fresh, to remain in contention.

In Lacina Traore, they may just have it.