Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Gradel just has to play games

Eddie Howe has already mentioned that he will be talking with Max Gradel about his future when he returns from Gabon and the Africa Cup of Nations. Yesterday, Max came on as a sub in the 81st minute of Ivory Coasts' opening match with Togo, which ended in a 0-0 draw. Max will want to get more time on the pitch but being around players like Wilfred Bony, Wilfred Zaha and Arouna KonΓ© - Max will be aware that a move would be easier if he plays well at the tournament - if that is what he wants. 
Max has to get back into the swing of it at the Africa
 Cup of Nations.
Max's form has been slow to pick up this season following a long recovery period after his cruciate ligament injury last season. He has made only five Premier League appearances, and all of them were as a sub. He did score in the League Cup second round against Morcambe, but it's been a disappointing 2016 for Max and he may well return from the African tournament hopefully feeling that he can contribute more to this AFCB side.

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While some may wish for Max to be sold, I still don't believe that Max has played as well for Bournemouth as he can, or as well as he wants to have played. While it has been a frustrating time for him to have bad injuries to get over and fierce competition to contend with at Dean Court, Max knows that he should be a wide man that is first on Eddie Howe's thoughts most weeks. He has to get back to that standard if he is to give the Cherries more cause to pick him consistently. He has three more years left on his contract and I'm not so sure as others that he wouldn't want to fight for his place in the Bournemouth side.

Max is now 29 and probably only has one more big move that he could make. He perhaps needs to raise his stock some more though before a move would be attractive to AFCB and himself. For these kind of reasons, I hope Max returns from this tournament having played well and being really fired up to give the Cherries his very best in 2017.

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