Thursday, 29 December 2016

Benik Afobe could well be on WBA's target list

I was somewhat surprised to see that WBA are being linked with Benik Afobe this January window. While it seems clear that Saloman Rondon is expected to be chased by some big clubs in the next few weeks, it has been a tough time for Benik at AFCB and he has been rather under the shadow of Callum Wilson and Josh King. Tony Pulis can see similarities I am sure between Rondon and Afobe though so from a WBA point of view it could be a good fit.

Is Benik more likely than Callum to be on his way in January?
The potential for a move would really depend on Benik and if he sees a likelihood of getting more playing time at the Cherries. Of course, Callum Wilson is a major obstacle in the path of Benik getting more pitch time and Wilson is also likely to be of interest to teams this window. So Eddie Howe could well be resigned to losing one of his strikers and he may have to make a call on whether to let one or even two strikers go. I think he may entertain one transfer out of his top men but I doubt he will be keen to see anyone leave until the summer.
AFCB themselves have not been linked with too many strikers and that indicates to me that Howe is not really looking to sell. Even if WBA make a high bid for Benik, it might not meet the asking price and Benik is also probably starting to enjoy himself a bit more now at AFCB with the sub appearances he has been getting and the opportunity to train with Jack Wilshere again.

Moving to the Midlands under Pulis would give Benik a fresh start and new motivation to impress, but the challenge would be a big one as Rondon has really been the Baggies main striker and he has done extremely well of late. While I am sure WBA can match what ever Benik is being paid at AFCB, Benik really has to show that he has faith in Eddie Howe and his plan or see if he can see a brighter future elsewhere. My gut feeling is that he won't want to move in this window, but an offer of £12m to 15m might test the waters.

Benik Afobe stats in 2016/17
1 goal
1 assist
14 (12 sub) appearances

Premier league record 5 goals in 29 appearances
Age 23
Nationality DR Congo

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