The big kick off is another step closer, 24 days left now. Having looked at Arsenal yesterday we will now move on to Bournemouth AFC.
Last season Bournemouth took a massive step forward, finishing in 9th place in the table. Having only been promoted two seasons ago this was a brilliant achievement considering they haven’t spent drastic amounts of money on players. Their development and growth as a club has also allowed Eddie Howe to continue with their attacking philosophy, which has seen them play some lovely football. Prime examples from the 16/17 season being their 6-1 demolition of Hull City last October and thrilling 3-3 draw with Arsenal.
More often than not Bournemouth lined up in a 4231 formation, looking something like this:
The only real loss from their regular starting eleven will be Jack Wilshere, who appeared in the league 27 times before injury against Tottenham Hotspur ended his season early. Jack has returned to Arsenal after his loan spell with The Cherries and while he did not provide much in terms of goals and assist numbers, he brought a calmness to the Bournemouth midfield which managed to aid bringing out the best in Harry Arter, Andrew Surman, Dan Gosling or Lewis Cook whenever they played together.
Their midfielders have been impressive, Harry Arter especially, since promotion to the Premier League and Bournemouth will be hoping they can continue to start attacks and provide the creativity through the middle as the midfield is probably the teams strongest area of the pitch.
In my opinion, they may want to look at adding another piece in Centre Midfield. Not anything to do with the quality of the players, but more from a numbers standpoint. The return of young American midfielder Emerson Hyndman could help with that however he isn’t Premier League proven yet.
Any incoming player would need to be someone who is comfortable in possession of the football and not afraid to put a challenge in as Bournemouth’s midfielders are of a similar mould and it works well for them. Someone, for example, like James McCarthy from Everton, or a loan deal for Lewis Baker from Chelsea.
Bournemouth’s summer will be a success or failure depending on whether they keep Josh King. He was magnificent last season, scoring 16 goals in 36 games. Tottenham have been mentioned as being interested in signing him for around £20million.
They can’t let him go, because his productivity last season will be difficult for a mid table team to replace. Although they have made a shrewd signing in Jermain Defoe, King’s pace and dribbling ability has been an X-Factor at times.
If King stays, in my mind this would be the best way to line up for the start of the campaign:
Jermain Defoe signing on a free transfer from Sunderland is a wonderful bit of business for Bournemouth. He is a guaranteed 15 goal a season striker whose intelligent movement will go hand in hand with the passing style Eddie Howe’s team plays. Defoe will add to an already dangerous attack and would see other options off the bench that include winger Jordon Ibe, striker Benik Afobe and Callum Wilson who will be returning from a serious knee injury.
Asmir Begovic joining for £10million from Chelsea is a very underrated purchase. As the Goalkeeper has been on the Chelsea bench for the past few years, I think many fans have forgotten just how good he was at Stoke. If he can regain his form from his days at Stoke, Bournemouth fans will be happy with a top 5 talented keeper in my opinion.
They have also strengthened in the defensive ranks by signing Nathan Ake for a fee in the region of £20million. He was very impressive during his loan spell at the Vitality Stadium last season, and gives Bournemouth a bit more strength in depth.
So far Bournemouth’s transfer window has been a success, three first team players in without any major departures. Keep Josh King, and maybe Bournemouth can push for a Europa League spot.