AFC Bournemouth head coach Scott Parker has certainly been backed by the Cherries hierarchy with the addition of seven new signings consisting of one goalkeeper, one centre-back, one left-back, and four attack-minded players.
The Cherries incomings concluded with the signing of Ryan Christie from Celtic for £1.5million, who was added to Jamal Lowe (£1.5million from Swansea), Emiliano Marcondes (free transfer from Brentford), Leif Davis (on loan from Leeds United), Orjan Nyland (free transfer from Norwich City), Gary Cahil (free transfer from Crystal Palace) and Morgan Rogers (on loan from Manchester City).
How would you grade AFCB's summer dealings?
B - C-
D - E
Parker was pleased with the additions and heaped praise on AFC Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake, AFC Bournemouth technical director Richard Hughes and AFC Bournemouth owner Maxim Demin when speaking to afcb.co.uk…
“It’s been a really positive transfer window, I think we’ve done really, really well and completed some good business.
“At the start of pre-season when I came in, there was a lot of work to be done in the sense of a lot of players to come in and trying to re-sign players and build the squad.
“I think the people who have been responsible for doing that – Richard (Hughes), Neill (Blake), and the owner (Maxim Demin) – deserve big credit because when you look at the squad we’ve got now, I think the balance is very good, we’ve got experience as well as a young, dynamic, fresh look to us and I think we tick a lot of boxes.
“Now the job is getting together, gelling as a team and getting onto the field and proving ourselves.”
As Parker alludes to, the question now is how the team gel and who earns a place in the starting XI?
Written by cherrycarl2004
This is an interesting one, and the fact that we have debates for every position on the pitch is very exciting, especially given the youthful nature of the side.
The debate for the Goalkeeper spot is one of development versus experience. On the face of it you would pick Nyland, late 20’s, promotion with two clubs and a regular in the Norway squad. However, he hasn’t actually got much more first-team action than Travers, at least in England. Never seen much of him, to be honest. All I know is that he has been the second or even third choice wherever he has been. Travers is a difficult one. When he debuted against Spurs a few years back, I am pretty sure everyone who was at that game would agree that has to be one of the finest goalkeeping performances for some time at Dean Court. From that game, I was convinced he would go from strength to strength, but he hasn’t seemed to. I am sure though he will prove to be a good keeper in the coming seasons. Surely a year as number one ought to help him achieve that. That is why I would like Travers to be the first choice with Nyland as back up.
The subject of defence doesn’t get any easier. For me personally, you have to have a mix of experience and youth. We have both in abundance, with the addition of Gary Cahill, and the emergence of Jordan Zemura and Zero Ibsen-Rossi. I will assume we will play a back four. The centre back partnership (and by partnership I mean playing with and only with the person next to you) is one we have many solid enough players for at this level, we have five in total for two positions. What I will say is you have to have one of Cook or Cahill in the best XI, never both. The idea of that makes me shiver. I am pretty sure Ted Mac could still give these the run-around. What do you go for, sentiment or pedigree? Without knowing how either of their current playing capabilities I will assume that they are the same as the last time they played. With a Champions League medal, two premier league medals, you will struggle to argue against Cahill. As I have previously dismissed Cook and Cahill partnership, that leaves Kelly, Mepham and Ibsen-Rossi for the left side of centre back. As great as he has been I think we are starting to see a few flaws to Zeno’s game, Mepham too has been a great asset this season and has come back a different player to last season. Surely though Kelly is certain for that role, after all he had been selected as the current captain. Also, I think he is maturing into a good player. He is definitely one for the future. For me, it is Cahill and Kelly. The two full-back positions are interesting. On the right, you have two experienced players and on the left, you have two inexperienced players. I haven’t seen enough of Davis to comment on him but he would have to be some player to take JZ’s spot as he has been immense since that tough WBA fixture. Smith’s versatility makes him so useful but Stacey’s energy and attacking threat gets him in for me.
So far we have:
Now onto the midfield three. A is single or a double pivot? I think personally we have the squad for a double pivot but Scott Parker obviously prefers the single-pivot in front of the back four. It depends on whether you want a playmaker or a ball winner there. Every player has their strengths and weaknesses but in my opinion, there is only one man for this role who has everything above mentioned. That is Lewis Cook. On his day he is one of the finest players to watch… not just at this club, but in the country. I really mean that too. The two more advanced players will have to do a mix of get up to support the centre forward and come back and help the holding midfielder protect the back four. I have been open about my criticism of Billing in the past, I think we all have, but he has really shone over the last year. He has to be in. Some of the runs he makes are superb. Then you have Lerma, Marcondes and Christie. We will have to wait and see with Christie. I always admired him, never thought we could acquire him for that little of a fee though. I think he might adapt nicely but we shall see. Marcondes was one that brought about some real excitement, for some of the fan base. Not for me though. I have never rated him. Still don’t. Clever enough player but he hides for 88 minutes. Rarely does anything. I will be honest, I am just not a fan. Surely, with the way we are playing, Lerma has to be in the best XI. The way he presses, box to box runner, the way he carries the ball. All of these things make him one of the best players in the league. All about balance too. I think if either Lerma or Pearson was the holding midfielder, we could afford to play two of Billing/Marcondes/Christie. That would mean no Lewis Cook, though. For me, the midfield is Cook with Billing and Lerma advanced.
The frontline. Options on the left. Anthony, Rogers, Lowe and Stanislas. Anthony has shown a lot of promise but has faded in recent games showing that maybe we cannot pin our hopes on him over 46 games. Rogers is an unknown quantity. Lowe is good on the left but I see him in the long term as a striker. I think Stanislas fully fit is the best man for the job. A Premier League player without a doubt. On the right, it is out of Brooks and Christie. Has to be Brooks. As for the striker. Solanke is our most valuable player. If he gets injured it could really damage us even with Lowe as cover.
This is the best XI for me.