Last Five | Boubacar Traore

Looking back at five years of highs and lows for the Wolves men's first-team players before the 2023/24 season, next up is the recent career of Old Gold midfielder Boubacar Traore.


  • AS Bamako (youth)

Just five years ago, Traore was a relative unknown on the European scene where a then-17-year-old was playing for the youth team of his hometown club back in Mali, AS Bamako. Traore never made a senior appearance for the club before being spotted by French club FC Metz. During this season, Traore was representing his country at under-20 and under-23 level, with the midfielder playing every minute of Mali’s 2019 U20 Africa Cup of Nations success. He even opened the scoring in the final before netting in the penalty shootout which secured the title. In the summer of 2019, Traore played in the U20 World Cup, in which he scored in a 4-3 group stage win over Saudi Arabia, before their run was halted in the quarter-finals against an Italy side featuring current senior players Davide Frattesi and Gianluca Scamacca.


  • Metz II (7 apps | 1 goals)

Following their promotion to Ligue 1, Metz brought Traore over to Europe for the first time, utilising the midfielder in their ‘B’ team for the 2019/20 season as he adapted to life on a new continent. However, he did appear on the bench for the senior side five times throughout the campaign without making an outing onto the pitch. But in just his second appearance for the reserves, who were playing in ‘National 3 – Grand Est’, Traore netted his first goal in France. The midfielder scored an equaliser for his side against Sarreguemines on 12 minutes, before another goal apiece meant the game finished in a 2-2 draw. That was Traore’s only goal for Metz during his debut season as he was unable to put a run of matches together.


  • Metz (2 apps | 1 goal)

Following one season with Metz’s second team, he was promoted to the seniors for the start of the 2020/21 season, but despite being given the number eight shirt, he was unable to get many minutes as the side battled to a mid-table position in the top tier of French football. After being in the bench for most of the campaign, Traore’s chance to make his senior debut came in the final month of the season as came off the bench in the final 20 minutes of Metz’s 3-0 loss to Nimes. However, just a week later, he was back on the pitch at FC Lorient. Coming off the bench with half an hour remaining, just 10 minutes later, Traore had equalised for his team with a long-range effort. But Metz were unable to hold on for long, with Lorient retaking the lead and snatching the three points just moments later.


Metz (28 apps | 1 goals)

Traore started the 2021/22 season out of the starting line-up for Metz, with the majority of his first 11 appearances of the campaign coming off the bench late on in games, but his performances in the heart of the Metz midfield were starting to have an impact. From December 2021 onwards, Traore was a mainstay in the team, and he kickstarted that run with another goal in Ligue 1, this time it earned his side a point on the road against Olympique Lyon. During this time, Traore’s energy and workrate came to the fore in France, with his pressing and tackling stats among some of the highest in Europe’s top five leagues. He also thrived when driving forward with the ball, earning himself an assist in Metz’s 2-2 draw with Montpellier. In spite of his performances, he was unable to stop his team’s drop into the second tier.


  • Metz (3 apps | 0 goals)
  • Wolves – loan (11 apps | 3 goals)

Traore’s performances for Metz the previous season had already alerted Wolves’ attention, but in the summer of 2022, an initial loan move was finally confirmed – although it took until the final minutes before the transfer window slammed shut. Traore turned out three times for Metz in the second tier ahead of his switch to Molineux, with the midfielder coming off the bench to make his debut in the second half of the Old Gold’s 3-0 home loss to Manchester City. Traore became a regular under Steve Davis and James Collins, playing seven times – and scoring his first Wolves goal to secure a narrow Carabao Cup win against Leeds United – before the season was paused for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. During this break, Traore made his loan move permanent, as well as making his senior Mali debut, playing in a 1-1 friendly draw against Algeria. Once the season resumed, a groin injury he sustained in training saw Traore left on the sidelines, that was until closing weeks of the campaign, with the midfielder returning for the final home fixture of the season.

This article originally featured in Wolves' official 2023/24 matchday programme. Last season's programmes are still available to purchase online through retailers Curtis Sports