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Adama Traore, Dan James and five other wingers who mastered the art of flattering to deceive

As Wolves' Adama Traore digs out his suitcases, with a possible move to Spurs on the cards, Planet Sport checks out the pacy wingers for whom flattering to deceive has become an art form.

We all love a winger. It's universal and something that unites all soccer fans.

There really is nothing more likely to get you off your seat than watching a speedy winger scorch past a full-back, get to the byline and fire in a juicy cross for the onrushing striker.

Wolves and Spain winger Adama Traore could be on the verge of a big move to Tottenham according to our sister site Teamtalk, and he's certainly a player who, on his day, can entertain a crowd with his pace.

But like many flying wingers the end product doesn't always match the promise.

So, with that in mind, Planet Sport celebrate wingers who mastered the art of flattering to deceive.

Adama Traore

The Spaniard is without question the strongest and most powerful carrier of the ball in the division - famously covering his arms in baby oil before matches to prevent defenders from being able to get a hold of him.

And yet, Traore is at his fourth club, one of those being Barcelona, and he hasn't really established himself as an indispensable force for any of them.

So, while many have lauded Traore as the most exciting player in the Premier League, there will be plenty more arguing he is the most frustrating.

In 18 appearances this season, granted eight off the bench, he's yet to score or provide an assist. He's even made more backward passes (90) than forward ones (51).

At the moment we are not quite sure what Antonio Conte sees in him. Maybe the Italian will be the manager who turns Traore into a superstar. Maybe he will be the one who quietly ushers him out on a free.

Dan James

Even if you didn't catch his increasingly sporadic appearances for Manchester United, Euro 2020 should have taught you all you need to know about James.

He consistently looked like Wales' most dangerous player, yet the end product was never really there.

There is definitely a player in there somewhere and you would have backed Marcelo Bielsa to bring it out. But James is hardly pulling up any trees at Elland Road and is still firmly in the 'flatters to deceive' category.

In 17 appearances this season, James has scored twice, with one assist, and only supplied 43 crosses at 9% accuracy rate. Meanwhile the Premier League's top crosser, Trent Alexander-Arnold has fired in over 150, 31% of those accurate.

Jesper Blomqvist

Blomqvist was tipped for the top early after emerging in Sweden for IFK Gothenberg, with comparisons to Ryan Giggs immediately made.

He was definitely as quick as Giggs - without the ball at least - and he had the chance to compete with the Welshman for a place in the Man Utd team after a failed spell in Italy.
However, while Blomqvist had the pace, he never had the delivery, and too often he powerfully yet gracefully danced down the left for next to no reward.

Things didn't get any better for him at Everton either, and he ultimately failed to fulfil his early promise.

Victor Moses

There is no question that Victor Moses has talent. Physically he is a beast and you don't play for Chelsea, Liverpool and Inter Milan if you're not a quality player.

He has never really been convincing for any of them though, and the same can be said of Crystal Palace, Wigan, Stoke, West Ham and all the other clubs you forgot he played for.

Moses won a Premier League title and FA Cup winners' medal with Chelsea, so you have to give him his due, but he was almost always more frustrating than he was effective.

Jesus Navas

Speaking of speedy Spaniards who flattered to deceive, we really need to talk about Jesus Navas.

Navas played more than 120 games for Manchester City in a four-year spell and he definitely had some big moments.

He was never someone you could rely­ on for those moments, though. For while he could beat defenders at will with the ball at his feet, he failed miserably when it left his boot, with even beating the first defender beyond him.

Aaron Lennon

Lennon is one of those players who feels like he has been around forever, and he has been doing the exact same thing for the entirety of it.

In a twisted kind of a way, you almost want to credit him for his unfailing persistence. For 18 years now he has been doing the same thing: Collect the ball, run it down the wing, look great, create nothing.

To be fair, it got him more than 250 appearances for Tottenham, 50 for Everton and 21 for England, so it's a home-run swing that has served him well. It's just never been as useful to anyone as it really should have been.

The 34-year-old is still at Burnley, hopping off the bench when needed. He has scored this season, so at least he's one ahead of Traore.

Theo Walcott

There are two defining truths when it comes to Theo Walcott: Firstly, he has had a fine career. Secondly, he was meant for a lot more than he has delivered.

Walcott was a precocious talent in his early years at Southampton, and you could maybe argue he joined the wrong club at the wrong time with Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger fancied him as a winger, not the striker Walcott saw himself as, and spent years trying to mould him into the role.

He was good, too, but it never looked like it came naturally to him. Even to this day, Walcott is a player who is able to get himself into great positions yet lacks that ruthlessness to make it count. He's not going to change now either, is he?


While Adama Traore is probably the most frustrating player in the Premier League right now, Manchester United ace Nani could well be the most frustrating player the Premier League has ever seen.

The Portuguese ace seemed to have it all: the power, the pace, the skills. What he didn't seem to have, though, was a soccer brain.

Nani would repeatedly work great positions for himself only to repeatedly make the worst decision possible.

He was the kind of player you wanted to love - and 147 apearances for United certainly gave the relationship a chance - but left you wanting to change the locks, cut up all their shirts and message an old flame on Facebook.

READ MORE: January 2022 Premier League transfer window ins, outs and latest signings

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