Date: 17th May 2018 at 6:12am
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AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe believes that both defender Nathan Ake and Lewis Cook will be linked with moves away from the south coast this summer.

Naturally, the Cherries want to keep hold of arguably their two stand-out players during the 2017/18 Premier League campaign.

Ake swept the board in terms of player of the season awards, whilst Lewis Cook broke into the England squad and won his first cap under manager Gareth Southgate.

Both players have been signed since promotion to the top flight of English football, Cook was signed from Leeds United in 2015, whilst Ake joined initially on loan in 2016 and returned on a permanent basis in 2017.

During the upcoming transfer window, Howe is keen to improve the squad and has intimated that he would like to sign young players who can grow into the squad, similar to both Cook and Ake and to a certain extent Jordon Ibe, who joined in 2016.

The first hurdle, however, is to keep hold of both Cook and Ake and then, potentially build the squad around them.

Howe told the Daily Echo

“If it happens, it happens and there is nothing I can do about it (losing one of them to another club).

“Both players have had outstanding seasons and our wish would be to keep them, build the team around them and not sell them.

“You want players performing well at Premier League level because, ultimately, that is how you are going to win games.

“If they do that consistently then naturally they will be linked with other clubs. That is part of the process and we have always had that here.”

Your say…

AFCB Lost in Brum wrote…

Inconsistency sums up this season.

The cold reality is that some of our players have gone as far as they can go; they can’t deliver what’s needed, week in, week out, to move this club forward.

Being a ‘good servant’ means nothing. You don’t avoid relegation or advance as a team/club on sentimentality. However, equally, recognising that some players time should be up doesn’t mean that what they’ve achieved for this club isn’t respected, appreciated, or recognised.

If we are to advance we need to retain Begovic, Ake and Lewis Cook this summer.

Defence remains our weak point, it’s undeniable.

To step up we clearly (and sadly) need two new full backs (although Adam Smith probably fills one of those slots). We also need a new Centre Back to partner Ake.

Midfield is a conundrum.

Lewis is obviously the first choice and it’s clear that Gosling brings out the very best in him. I’m guessing Arter is off in the summer (he’s already bailed on his own soccer school) and Surman is 32 in the summer. Hyndman was impressive for Rangers but Eddie Howe doesn’t seem to fancy him.

Out wide Ibe and Stanislas (probably our most technically gifted player) should stay on.

I always thought the ‘tiny margins in the Premier League’ line was pundit hype but in reality, it’s true – Ibe and Stanislas were both dismal against WBA but each delivered those one-off bits of magic that win games.

Wee Man, I just don’t know about, same could be said for Mahoney.

I could rattle on but we all know our biggest problems are at the back. It really is time for EH to fix that. – Join the conversation, click here.

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