Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Sacre bleu! Max Gradel finally signs for the Cherries

The pursuit of Max Gradel has been one of the hardest of the summer for AFCB. While the links with the Cherries for the Saint-Etienne winger remained strong since this time last year, and even after approaches last January proved unsuccessful, it has eventually transpired that the pull of the Premier League and the chance to play for Eddie Howe has meant that the Cherries have eventually got there man.  Max now joins the Cherries on a four-year deal for a reported £7 million.

Is Max Gradel a better player than he was back in 2007-8 when he was on loan at AFCB? Well he certainly has a lot more experience now as a Cote d'Ivoire international and his goal ratio is still ticking along very nicely in the French Ligue 1. He scored 17 goals from 23 starts for St-Etienne last season and AFCB had to fight hard to win his services. Last season he played more as a striker own the middle than a winger and it was said on TalkSport this morning that he virtually carried the whole St-Etienne team with his goals.

He has found the net before with other English teams as well, playing for Leicester City from whom he was on loan to when AFCB recruited him in 2007 and also for Leeds Utd, who apparently will get some fee from the deal. So he should suit the English conditions and will perhaps feel that he has unfinished business of playing in the Premier League.

Discussions about his price tag have been reported to be the main hitch in getting Max to sign for a club sooner this summer. St-Etienne seemed to be holding out for £7-8 million but AFCB and others don't seem to have been keen on going any higher than £5 million. At 27 he should be just about to have his peak seasons ahead of him, but fitting him in the AFCB side will only be easy if he can start producing the goods early on. 

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