AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe believes this summers transfer window will have its surprises.
During the summer of 2016, Howe made a clear move to bring down the average age of the Cherries squad.
With the exception of Marc Wilson, who had turned 29, the oldest summer signing Howe made was Arsenal and England loanee Jack Wilshere at the age of 24.
The six other signings during the transfer window held an average age of just over 20.
Loan signing from Chelsea Nathan Aké was a 21 year old Dutch Under 21’s international.
On a permanent basis, AFC Bournemouth broke their record transfer fee on Jordon Ibe, paying between £13-15million for the 20 year old England Under 21’s international.
Liverpool team-mate and 22 year old Australian international Brad Smith also joined for around £3million.
20 year old, United States of America international Emerson Hyndman joined for around £750,000 from Fulham.
20 year old France Under 20’s international Lys Mousset joined from French club Le Havre for ?7.3million and 19 year old England Under 19’s international Lewis Cook joined from Leeds United for around £6million, potentially rising to £10million.
Having spent in the region of £35million on transfer fees, the Cherries had already recouped around £18.5millon on the somewhat surprise sales of Matt Ritchie to then Championship side Newcastle United for around £12million and club captain Tommy Elphick to Aston Villa for around £3.25million.
Lee Tomlin also left for Bristol City for around £3million and Shaun MacDonald was sold to Wigan for £250,000.
Howe expects there to be more surprises this window, but hopefully none negative.
Howe told Sky Sports…
‘It is very difficult to predict, I say that before every transfer window.
‘You can have your plans in place and thoughts and aims and things can surprise you. Hopefully there will be no negative surprises for us.
‘I want to keep the squad together. I want to keep our best players. I want to try to add quality, if we can, to the group, and if we can do that it will be another good window for us.
‘Continuity is important to us. If you have players with good attitudes and ability, and they are the right age then keep them together.
I think getting above the midtable mini-league is pure fantasy for our club, but then everything we’ve done lately is pure fantasy too so why should that stop us dreaming? If you really want an honest appraisal of what we’d need to compete in Everton’s current position, then I think nobody in our squad is really safe – if that’s the bar you set.
We’d need to be more clinical in front of goal – we’ve missed an unbelievable number of chances this season (just look at the woodwork count). So we’d need to not only keep King and the current attacking midfield lineup that creates our chances, but add a deadly goalscorer (something every club is after). Defoe might fit that bill, all be it for one season perhaps.
Obviously we concede too many. We’d need at least two starting defenders to compliment Cook and Daniels, a longer term starting goalkeeper, as well as better backup defenders. Even Daniels might need to be upgraded if you really want to push that far up the table. We’d be looking at wholesale defensive imports.
In central midfield: L.Cook might have the talent but it’s early days. Everyone else, yes even Arter, would need to be improved upon if that’s the standard.
Realistically that’s too much change for one or two windows, and would risk throwing away all the integration and partnerships we’ve built up.
More realistically: We try to keep S.Cook, King, Fraser et all. Make small tweaks with the attack, and put most effort into improving defence. Get that right and we’ll hit midtable safety again next season, but with a squad that has less reliance on the old guard. That has to be next season’s aim. – Join the conversation here.
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