One of the major success stories of the Premier League last season, aside from Leicester City winning the title, was the performance of newly promoted Bournemouth.
The Cherries comfortably retained their top flight status by finishing in 16th place, whilst achieving some remarkable results in order to do so. For instance Eddie Howe’s side recorded back-to-back victories against Chelsea and Manchester United in December, whilst at the start of March they won three consecutive games to climb to 13th in the table and 13 points clear of the relegation zone.
Bournemouth’s brilliant start to March
March 1 – Bournemouth 2-0 Southampton
March 5 – Newcastle 1 – 3 Bournemouth
March 12 – Bournemouth 3 – 2 Swansea
Following that fine run of form however, Bournemouth picked up just four points from their remaining eight games, which although a disappointing end to the season, did not detract from them having enjoyed a wonderful first campaign in the Premier League.
In an effort to build upon that, Howe, backed by the club’s Russian owner Maxim Denim, is currently trying to strengthen his squad ahead of the new season.
That is proving to be a challenging process in itself for the 38-year-old, who is the youngest manager in the Premier League, since despite being able to bring in a quartet of new players, club captain Tommy Elphick & winger Matt Ritchie, who was one of Bournemouth’s star performers last season have departed the Goldsands Stadium.
After receiving in the region of £12m from Newcastle for Ritchie, Howe was authorised to reinvest some of that in signing 19-year-old midfielder Lewis Cook from Leeds United for an initial fee of £6m, with the possibility of that rising to £10m, according to The Guardian. The England U-19 star, who scored two goals in
85 appearances for Leeds, became Howe’s fourth new young recruit of the summer, with the Cherries having previously signed the 21-year-old U.S.A internationalist Emerson Hyndman, along with the 20-year-old duo of Nathan Ake and Lys Mousset.
Whilst the Dutchman Ake and Hyndman are products of Chelsea and Fulham’s highly respected youth academies respectively, Mousset emerged through the ranks at Le Havre, for whom the French U-20 international striker scored 14 Ligue 1 goals last season.
As such Howe’s transfer policy appears to be focused upon recruiting quality young players, who have the potential to both develop and help the Cherries enjoy another highly successful season in the Premier League.
Ultimately such a recruitment policy is brave and carries an element of risk, since it will be a real challenge for the young quartet to adapt to playing in the Premier League. Nevertheless a strong framework to enable them to do that is very much in place at Bournemouth, given they are to be under the excellent guidance of Howe and joining an extremely well balanced squad of experienced players.
Further additions are likely to be added to that between now and Bournemouth’s first game of the new Premier League season against Manchester United on 14 August, with the Cherries reportedly close to signing Jordan Ibe from Liverpool, whilst having an interest in Reading’s Jordan Obita and Ryan Mason of Tottenham.
Therefore Bournemouth are set to continue being busy in the transfer market throughout the summer.