By Villa News Speaking to Dan Bardell

12th Apr, 2023 | 5:10pm

Aston Villa pulled off 'masterstroke' by recalling Bertrand Traore from loan spell in January - Sky Sports journalist

We’re delighted to welcome Sky Sports and The Athletic’s Dan Bardell as our exclusive Aston Villa columnist each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the club…

Aston Villa pulled off a “masterstroke” by recalling Bertrand Traore from his loan spell at Istanbul Basaksehir in the January transfer window, according to Dan Bardell.

The Burkina Faso winger had only amassed 51 minutes of action for Unai Emery’s side before his match-winning goal in added time against Leicester City and netting the opening goal just four days later in the 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.

Both goals helped Villa claim maximum points from a week that saw the club climb from 11th position in the Premier League all the way up to 6th spot, with just eight games of the season remaining.

Traore originally joined Aston Villa for a fee of £19million from Lyon in 2020 and enjoyed a strong debut season under Dean Smith, netting seven goals and registering seven assists from 36 appearances.

However, after the sacking of Smith and the subsequent arrival of Steven Gerrard, the 27-year-old fell out of favour and has openly admitted in a recent interview that he was “frustrated” at the way he was treated. [The Sun, 10 April]

After spending the first half of the 2022/23 season on loan at Istanbul Basaksehir, Emery recalled the winger in the winter window after failing to secure the permanent services of any of his first-choice attacking targets.

Speaking to Villa News, Sky Sports and The Athletic’s Bardell admitted that Villa have more than vindicated their decision to recall Traore after his goalscoring exploits in the two matches.

“I think even if he does nothing else for the rest of the season, the fact they called him back is a masterstroke,” he said.

“At the moment, anything Emery seems to do turns to gold. Villa spent almost £20million on him, so you can’t just write off a player who spent that amount on, and actually, in his first season, he had a good goal and assists output, his productivity was actually one of the highest at Villa.

“Gerrard decided that he didn’t want wide players when he came into the club and Traore has eluded to the fact he wasn’t treated that well at the time.

“In January, Emery couldn’t get the forward players that he ideally wanted to bring in, and so he decided to wait until the summer, so it was a savvy move to call Traore back and give us another option.

“I think there is a good player in there. He can be frustrating, much like Leon Bailey, but you can see he has the ability, and that goal against Leicester City, not many players would have even thought of doing that, but it was so off the cuff and a brilliant finish.”

In other Aston Villa news, the club has been told to seal the re-signing of an expensive player amid transfer news.