Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea interest will disappear if Traore loses focus - Karanka

Adama Traore has been warned not to risk losing his place in the Middlesbrough team by getting carried away with Premier League leaders Chelsea's pursuit of him.

The Blues are understood to have registered an interest in the 20-year-old Spanish winger, who only joined Boro from Aston Villa in August, after a series of high-octane individual displays in the top flight.

Head coach Aitor Karanka remains relaxed over the situation with no player allowed to represent three different clubs in a single season, although the speculation is that Chelsea would loan him straight back to Boro should they clinch a deal.

However, he has warned the youngster to keep his feet firmly on the ground, with Patrick Bamford having arrived from Stamford Bridge to strengthen his hand.

Karanka said: "If a team like Chelsea is following Adama, it's because his progression has been brilliant in six months and he's doing well.

"But he's young and the main thing he has to do is to keep going in the same way because football changes a lot.

"Maybe he is in a big moment, but with Patrick here now, with other players already, maybe in two or three months, he will not be playing and Chelsea disappears and everybody disappears."

Karanka has also had to contend with talk that reigning champions Leicester are preparing to test his resolve to hang on to Uruguay international Gaston Ramirez, although he has shown few signs of being prepared to let either man leave.

He said: "Adama can't go anywhere because he has played with Villa and with us, so he can't play for another club. And with Gaston, I don't know anything because the club hasn't received anything official from any club."

Karanka confirmed Boro have received two bids for striker Jordan Rhodes - Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa are understood to be tracking him - but revealed that neither came anywhere near matching their valuation, and admitted there had been no firm interest in Stewart Downing.

Instead he is hoping for further additions after Bamford and Rudy Gestede, with wide men his focus and Bojan Krkic, Gerard Deulofeu, Robert Snodgrass and Jese among those being targeted.

In the shorter term, he will look to rebuild Bamford's confidence after 18 months in the wilderness following his successful loan spell on Teesside during the 2014-15 season.

The Spaniard, who tried to engineer a permanent switch that summer, said: "I wanted him at that time and I wanted him this time. I have said always since the day that he left this club that we would have our door open always because he's a player I like a lot.

"He has that mentality that a player who plays up front needs to have. A player who plays up front needs to try to score goals and he is always trying to score goals. On the training ground, in the games, his first thought always is to play forward and we need these kind of players.

"It's a surprise that he hasn't played. He has had two starts in 18 months - I hope we can finish the season with much, much better figures for him."

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