AFC Bournemouth are planning for life back in the Premier League following a two-season absence.
The Cherries won automatic promotion under Scott Parker during his first season on the south coast and Parker is looking to repay his squad with loyalty for the achievements they have made.
However, there is plenty of room in the squad for new additions.
Veteran striker Gary Cahill has been released following his short spell at Dean Court. The 36-year-old, who joined in August 2021, made 22 appearances for the Cherries, predominantly during a four-month spell between September and December. Following the turn of the year, Cahill made just 3 further appearances.
Loanees Leif Davis, Morgan Rogers, Ethan Laird, Todd Cantwell, Freddie Woodman and Nat Phillips have all returned to their parent clubs.
This theoretically opens up space in the squad for a goalkeeper, right-back, left-back, 2 centre-backs and 2 attacking midfielders.
Speaking to the Daily Echo, Parker said…
“There needs to be a balance there…”
“…these boys (the current squad) deserve an opportunity. They deserve their chance. And they deserve that from me as well. They’ve been incredible.
“Like I said, this year, they’ve done an amazing job. And while we’re going to need help, and we’re going to need to strengthen for sure to be competitive in the Premier League.”
“I hope they’ve got that fire, They need to have that fire in their belly to go on and make it to the next level.
“Some of them have played in the Premier League, but there are some that haven’t. And they want to try and get there. So, it’s a good opportunity for them.”
Where do we think we need to strengthen in the summer?
Personally, I’d go with what we have up front, on the left, and in Centre Midfield. Dominic Solanke, Kieffer Moore and Jamal Lowe are good enough in attack, for me, and I think we’re well enough stocked on the left with Jaidon Anthony, Siriki Dembele (and Lowe). Jefferson Lerma and Lewis Cook are Premier League quality and I’d be happy with Ben Pearson and Gavin Kilkenny as a backup. We can obviously reassess all those positions in January.
I think the real areas we need to strengthen are on the right, behind the striker, and in defence. For me, Ryan Christie is not quite enough to be our main man on the right, and David Brooks will obviously take time to come back. I also think we need competition for Philip Billing, so a new starting RWF and another starting/rotation option in Attacking Midfield I see as essential.
In defence, I think we’ll need two Centre Backs, one of which could be Nat Phillips. Lloyd Kelly, Phillips, Chris Mepham, James Hill, and another should be enough to start the season with. I also think we need a new starting Right Back. As good as Adam Smith is, he’s on the wrong side of 30 and I’m not convinced Jack Stacey is a strong enough option. On the left, I’d be happy starting with Jordan Zemura, but he’ll need competition. So that’s two Centre Backs, a starting Right Back, and a rotational Left Back.
Overall, that leaves us with a shopping list of a starting RWF, a rotational AM, 2x CBs, a starting RB, a rotational LB, and, of course, a backup keeper. So 7 signings in all, a couple of which could be loans. That doesn’t sound unreasonable to me and should leave us with enough money to build a training ground… – Join the conversation, click here.