Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Is more to be demanded of Max Gradel this season?

Max Gradel has just completed an extended four-year contract with AFCB. He is 28-years old and it will have been a major commitment for him to sign such a long contract. With the departure of Matt Ritchie to Newcastle and what we hope would be a full season of fitness for Max Gradel, is it asking a lot for Max to be AFCB's star player in 2016-17? Without wanting to put any extra pressure on the Cherries Cote d'Ivorie winger, he has the skills and the confidence to take the Premier League by storm and this next season is one that he is bound to be relishing.

Max Gradel has already been in the headlines for his sending off in the friendly against Minnesota United FC, Eddie Howe has come to the players defence over this and has admitted that Gradel was unlucky to see red.

Max Gradel signs an extended four-year deal at the Cherries.
Earliy in the season he had bamboozled defenders in the West Ham away match and had won a penalty. His qualities are fairly unique in that he has a low centre of gravity and is able to drift into positions almost unnoticed, while his quick feet are a pleasure to watch. 

Max was able to keep a fairly low profile last season because of his cruciate ligament injury against Leicester City, which came at the same time as Tyrone Mings injury. It meant that he only made 14 appearances for the Cherries in 2015-16, and yet he was still an impressive player despite only netting once against Swansea on 12 March 2016. Who could forget the hug that he gave Eddie Howe as a special thanks. 

But Max provided much more than his single goal, just seeing him back on the pitch raised the team at an important time, when their safety was not assured. When he did come back in the Watford away match it was like he had never been away. Despite Eddie Howe's intention of only wanting to play him for a few minutes towards the end of the match. The injury to Junior Stanislas as early as the 23rd minute against Watford gave Max his chance and he went on to start eight more times between then and the end of the season with nine appearances in the last 11 games.

While Junior Stanislas and Marc Pugh had their own injuries during parts of the season, they were not as serious as Max's cruciate and they way he bounced back was truly remarkable and a big statement not only of AFCB's physio team, but Max's own self belief as he did much of the rehabilitation work in Africa. I feel we have only seen a glimpse of what Max is capable of and he won't be the only one being keen to demonstrate that they can have a big season wearing the red and black shirt, is going to be exciting to see how he, and some of the others - like Harry Arter, Tyrone Mings and Callum Wilso – who did not get a large run out last season, get on.

Max always comes a cross as a smiley joker and now with Lys Mousset adding some French speaking and Lewis Cook adding a Leeds connection, I'm hoping Gradel is going to have a big season ahead of him.

Transfer News
Harry Cornick has signed with Leyton Orient on loan until January 2017.

Tokelo Rantie is linked with a move to FC Zurich according to the Bournemouth Echo

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