AFC Bournemouth made their first summer signing of 2019 almost three weeks ago, surprising everyone with the capture of Bristol City defender Lloyd Kelly.
The 20-year-old had previously been linked with Liverpool, Arsenal and Southampton, but a reported £13million deal was enough to perhaps catch the other clubs napping with the England Under 21’s international signing a “long-term deal”.
Kelly’s obvious potential was one key aspect of the signing, but also his versatility.
The youngster played most of last season with Bristol City at left-back, but everyone including the player and his former manager sees him as eventually moving to centre back.
AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe will have been attracted to that and Bristol City manager Lee Johnson, who possibly knows him best agrees.
Johnson told BBC Radio Bristol, as quoted by the Daily Echo…
“His England performances have shown his quality. He’s learned so many lessons this season and trained at England senior level.
“We’ve had to put an arm round him and give him a kick at times. He’s got the lot. My frustration is that I won’t get to work with him any longer…”
“…I think he’s a centre-half long-term – and he’s a late developer. It works for all parties.
“It’s clever from Bournemouth – as the top six sides would have been looking at him.”
Lloyd Kelly is currently away with his England team-mates ahead of the UEFA European Under 21’s Championships and is set to face France, Romania and Croatia in the group stages. (For those interested, the game against France is on 20th June and is being shown on Sky Sports.)
Speaking about his move to the south coast and his favoured position, he told Sky Sports…
“It was a no brainer to go there.
“I’m buzzing, it was always a dream of mine to play in the Premier League no matter what club, especially this club, they play exciting football. I spoke to few players there at the moment, Dominic Solanke, Lewis Cook, and they said it’s a great place…”
“…It’s always good to play those two positions and I’ll play wherever I’m needed to play really but I do see myself settling down in a centre role as my career develops…”
It’s great to see Eddie showing faith in another youngster, and this time, one with proven England albeit U21 credentials.
I also see that Liverpool are a bit upset and some have disparaged us (no surprises there) but also some of them have been decent and wished him and us well. It’s also great that Eddie has got in there early. Interesting times for AFCB. I wonder what the next breaking news will be! – Join the conversation, click here.