Friday, 30 June 2017

Defoe is going to love it at AFCB

News broke last night that Jermain Defoe had signed a three-year deal, worth £65,000 a week for AFCB, according to Sky Sports. It has been a long drawn-out saga, but the 34-year old sounded delighted to be an AFCB player again.

Jermain has promised goals and there will be a few fans
who put a wager on him to score more than 20 in 2017/18.
"When the opportunity came about to return to AFC Bournemouth I just knew it was the right one., " he told AFCB's official website. 

“It was an easy decision, joining a top team with a top manager. It’s a great place to be."

Jermain has done well to hide his emotions in the past when journalist would quiz him at this summer about the potential move and it must be a big relief to him that he can just get on and ply his football now. While he will have competition, the speed of Jermain and his accuracy in front of goal will make him a prime candidate for starting most games when he is fit.
Classic Football Shirts
Eddie Howe will already have his opinions on how to get the best out of Defoe, but if the Cherries start the season with Josh King and Jermain Defoe up front I don't see too many fans complaining. Jermain will be aiming to be the top goal scorer, and so it should be quite a battle next season and that kind of competition will be an incentive for Afobe and Wilson to also make the most of their appearances.

The bench for attackers will look stronger next season and while Howe has often looked to be a bit short of striker options, that shouldn't be the case now. The different combinations of strikers will no doubt be played out over the summer, and I think the arrival of Defoe is very important for Lys Mousset who is similarly powerful and quick but has to lean more bout when to arrive in the box at the right time and when to be selfish and shoot and when not to. The sheer experience of Defoe will be a big factor in the progression of the club.

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Cherry Chimes' July Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month. It's out tomorrow with special story - Do the early signings inspire?

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Thursday, 29 June 2017

Remoulding AFCB's back four has only just begun

It has taken some three seasons for Eddie Howe to find players that can come into the AFCB squad and challenge or even replace some of the players that did so well for the club in the Championship. Some might call it slow evolution, but it has not been without trying. The honest fact is that main players at the back - Charlie Daniels, Steve Cook, Simon Francis and Adam Smith - have all improved more than the club could probably have hoped for in their wildest dreams.
We may have seen slow change in the back four
but the players have fought hard to retain their places.
Eddie Howe has bought players to the club such as Tyrone Mings and Brad Smith to try and install some variation as well as Marc Wilson and Rhoys Wiggins, but they haven't made a major dent in the starting line-up at Dean Court. I'd say that Tyrone Mings is at a level now when he could make more regular starts if needs must, but Baily Cargill has also been making enough progress to be a playable option now.

None of these signings have really shaken confidence in the regular back four, but all that may change now with Nathan Aké poised to sign on the dotted line. That means it will have taken a club record breaking £20 million player to start to put real pressure on the established back four. There are many defenders in the Premier League that don't even come close to being players of this value, which underlines what an amazing job AFCB's current defenders have done even if they are often knocked by pundits for the amount of goals that the team has conceded in its two years in the Premier League. 

Even now Aké can only rival one of the centre-back positions, but I'd expect Tyrone Mings to also find opportunities at some points during the season. I have been questioning in my own mind why AFCB were keen to try and sign Joe Gomes at Liverpool at left back when Brad Smith had not been able to break into the Cherries' starting 11? Surely Gomes would also find it hard to break into the team. 

AFCB have had to look at players at the top six clubs to find the quality they need though to strengthen the back four and I'm still getting over the shock of the club being about to sign a defender for a price that will be 20 times bigger than when Trevor Francis was signed by Nottingham Forest for £1 million in 1979 from Birmingham City. Still if Virgil Van Dyke is valued at £70 million, Aké is a very good investment.

Football has moved on and so have AFCB. But now that the Championship back four are coming under pressure we can expect more big signings to challenge the side that has given so much pleasure to AFCB fans by climbing up through the leagues.

In other news, AFCB confirm their summer training camp will be in the Costa del Sol with a friendly against GD Estoril Praia arranged for 15 July.

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Does Grabban go and seek another Championship loan?

The end of Lewis Grabban's loan at Reading was a blow for the striker who may well have had a glorious day at Wembley, if he could have helped the Royals win promotion. All options would have been open to him then, but it wasn't to be.
Lewis Grabban at the FA Cup game against Millwall last season.

Lewis Grabban is under contract at AFCB until the summer of 2019. His second period at the club though has not been a stirring success to date, and the Reading loan was s clear sign that Lewis needed some games and to get his desire back for scoring goals, which had been drained with his disruptive and combative times with Alex Neil at Norwich City. The break from Norwich and return to Bournemouth should have been a favourable move for Lewis, but the Cherries are now a side that is pushing to get to the very top of the pyramid structure and Lewis has found he needs time to get his momentum back.

Lewis may feel he has not managed to do enough last season by scoring three goals in 16 games. The Championship is really where Lewis has played his best football during AFCB's promotion winning 2014/15 season. He couldn't quite find that magic scoring grove against despite playing with former strike partner Yann Kermorgant at Reading.

So what of the future? The striker bench at AFCB is becoming rather crowded at the Cherries. If Lys Mousset is viewed ahead of Lewis in the pecking order then Lewis would have to consider having another loan period to ensure he got playing minutes under his belt or a new start somewhere else. I feel he needs a new challenge and may be not in the south of England, but he should consider a move that's a real change if his family life can allow it. Scotland could be a break with the past and a chance for him to get his confidence back at a big club like Rangers, where Emerson Hyndman fitted in so well last season. I just thing he needs to try something new. Visiting old places in the Championship hasn't really shot him back into the limelight and he could play in Scotland knowing that if he did well he would still get major headlines and coverage, especially if he could play for an old firm side. Whether such clubs would be interested in a striker that had lost his sharp scoring finesse though is another question.

Other news, some fans have informed Cherry Chimes that Andrew Surman has signed a contract until 2019, and this was confirmed in a Bournemouth Echo article today which is great to hear!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

What's happening with Surman's contract talks?

The time is quickly ticking away on the new contract for Andrew Surman who looks to be very close to running his contract out at AFCB, as mentioned by the Daily Mirror. Having seen him go up to Umbro and be a central figure in looking at the new kit design, and being very much part of the club's vision I would expect to hear something announced soon on Surman's position.
Surman should get a contract extension by the end of the month.
To let him go on a free transfer to another club would seem unlikely as no problems appear to exist between the club and player who has still been wearing a brace on his left knee. But next season it may be harder for Surman to play 22 games as he did in 2016/17 and if Lewis Cook is to take more games it is Surman that is likely to make way for the England U21 star.
Many of the prized Bournemouth players that come to the end of their playing career end up as part of the backroom team at the club and Surman is a player that could well fit that bill. His metronomic passing style is a quality that I am sure Eddie Howe would like to see him pass on to other Bournemouth players - you learn from the best and Surman's quality is to make difficult passes look very easy indeed.

AFCB may feel comfortable about what they are able to offer Surman in terms of a contract extension and as a vice captain the player is well respected and a senior member of the squad who knows the club inside out. His next contract could be shorter than he has had in the past, perhaps giving him two-years, but I think the fans would want to see that contract or even better one signed fairly soon as many of us are not expecting to start the new season without having such an important squad member signed up to play a few more matches at Dean Court. 

In other news, AFCB are reported to be in talks with Blackburn Rovers over signing winger Conor Mahoney, 20, according to SkySports.

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News article update: Andrew Surman has confirmed in the press that he has signed a two-year extension to his contract this summer taking him to the Summer of 2019.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Would Brazilian take AFCB's midfield to another level?

It came as a bit of a shock that ACB were looking to spoil Newcastle United's target of Man City midfielder Fernando. The Brazilian has been sidelined by Pep Guardiola to making just five Premier League starts in 2016/17 and he was thought to be on his way to Newcastle United for £5 million, according to the Sun.
Can AFCB beat Newcastle to Fernando's signature?
Yet, a late intervention by AFCB and Southampton could see the Brazilian playing on the south coast come August, according to the Manchester Evening News. Would such a signing take the Cherries' midfield to another level? You'd have to think so as signing a starting player off of a top six club is not what AFCB have managed to do in the past, except for loan moves like Jack Wilshere. The importance of having that top-class central midfielder in the squad is something that Howe clearly sees as a huge benefit for the team and while Wilshere was not in the price bracket that AFCB would go for, a bargain £5 million price-tag on a player like Fernando was clearly something that has excited AFCB.


What would this mean for AFCB's midfield? Lewis Cook could suddenly find himself still being the apprentice while Surman and Arter's partnership would more than likely be broken up. It would not sit easily with Dan Gosling either who may become interested in a move away if a deal is done with Fernando.

Fernando next to Eddie Howe at Dean Court.

AFCB can't ignore signings that would potentially give The Cherries a more dynamic edge to their play though when the side is looking to still make progress up the league. Those who sit still will be overtaken and while it seems incredulous for AFCB to have a Brazilian on their books it will be very interesting to see how this one plays out in the coming days. The edge that AFCB may have over Newcastle and Southampton is that AFCB have shown they are making progress in the Premier League. 

Fernando, 29, comes with a lot of experience with some 64 Premier League games on his record as well as over 140 matches for Porto. With such a signing AFCB would be raising the bar at Dean Court and it would be a change of strategy from the usual U20 something English signings that Howe was becoming recognised for.

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Sunday, 25 June 2017

Aké almost in reach for the Cherries

The rumours that Chelsea's Nathan Aké, 22, has several suitors now chasing him might have made it more difficult for AFCB to make themselves heard, but the Cherries are said to be in pole position to sign the Dutch defender, according to the Sun. The signing is reportedly going to set an new club record with a transfer fee of £20 million suggested by the national newspaper.
Aké is set to conclude talks with AFCB once he comes back to the country in July.

Club Call
had suggested that West Ham Utd and Southampton would also be interested in the player, and while I can see the Saints might be gearing up for a replacement for Virgil Van Dyke, should he exit St Marys this summer, I was less sure on the Hammer's motives when they have already signed Pablo Zabaletta from Man City, as the Guardian reported.

Of course, Chelsea have the last say on what talks can and can't go ahead with Nathan Aké, but the Sun report does suggest that Nathan will sign for the Cherries when he comes back off of his holiday in July. 

Nathan has been concentrating on matches for the Netherlands and no doubt has not wanted to have talks until he has got those matches out of the way, but at the start of June the Daily Express reported that he was seeking transfer talks with Chelsea's technical director Michael Emenalo and despite this request there has been little news filtering out of Stamford Bridge. He only played five games for Chelsea at the end of the season last year, but was in the match day squads fairly frequently even if he didn't get on the field much.

AFCB have not made any noise about seeking a deal with the player, but there could have been a gentleman's agreement that AFCB would get first bid on the player if he did want to leave Chelsea in the summer.

Nathan Aké was certainly the man who I think would be the most important signing for AFCB this summer if comes off so I'll keep my fingers crossed that the Sun has this one right.

On other news, the AFCB Vtals site has linked AFCB with Man City defender Fernando.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Does another top 10 finish depend on AFCB keeping King?

The gossip about Spurs and to some extent Everton being keen on Josh King is not the chatter that most AFCB fans want to hear about. It is rare to have a striker at a club outside the top six clubs who has the potential to score 20 goals in a season and in Josh King Bournemouth know now that they do have a striker who can score goals against any side in the Premier League.
AFCB have to do whatever they can to keep hold of King
unless they can get a transfer fee that give them the chance to a similar striker
with a goal count of 20-goals a season.
The Cherries number 17 has made amazing progress since he signed from Blackburn Rovers and he has not only surprised everyone by what he is now capable of, he has become the most reliable striker at Dean Court. This has of course attracted attention from elsewhere, but he seems to be coping with that well and has been very respectful of the interest. At the same time he has underlined that he has made such terrific progress because he has been at AFCB and has a manager who fully believes in him and has transformed him from a winger of promise into a number nine who batters defences.

The powerful running on and off the ball by King is something that other players in AFCB's squad don't manage to provide with as much impact and ferocity as when Josh makes his runs. I'd say Ryan Fraser is starting to learn how to do this as well, but it's Josh that has defences taking several steps back just to be cautious about the power that King unleashes when he is about to attack.

Pull King out of the Bournemouth side though and the team does lack a bit of gusto. We had the perfect demonstration in the last game of the season at Leicester City. AFCB played well, but I felt that it could have been a very different game if King had been available as he was in such a run of form.  

A top 10 finish with Josh King would be an extraordinary achievement in 2017/18, but to do it without King would be more of a miracle. King and Defoe would be a very powerful front line and I'm sure Callum Wilson will be pushing these two when he returns. 

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Friday, 23 June 2017

Can Afobe become the main man at AFCB?

The 2016/17 season was not a brilliant campaign for the former Wolves striker Benik Afobe, but he did manage to play a fair few games towards the end of the season for the Cherries and his goal tally rose to six, while he had three assists from 31 appearances. He is still finding his feet at the club in my opinion and has to find another gear to really be the main man at AFCB, and if Defoe joins the club as expected and Josh King does not leave for Spurs, he could have to spend plenty of time on the bench in the new season.

Afobe has to have a big season now.
Whether that will frustrate Afobe is easy to answer - yes. He will be annoyed at not starting having had his run of starts once Jack Wilshere was injured in the Spurs away match in April, as reported by the Evening Standard. Benik had been waiting to prove himself and he had a few games where he began to look like a player that was fighting for every chance again and he certainly enjoyed sticking his goal away against Middlesbrough in the crucial 4-0 home win that took the Cherries up to 38 points at the time from 34 games, as the BBC reminds us. 


Yet, there has been transfer talk about Josh King and none for Benik Afobe. The big DR Congo player hasn't captured many admiring eye's, although Tony Pulis was thought to be tracking the player last January and by March the Birmingham Mail was claiming that Benik could make the Baggies a top six club.

In hindsight, some people in the Midlands were getting carried away. I wonder how much WBA fans would really want an ex-Wolves man leading their line? In any case no offer was made and it still hasn't been made. 

Benik is still most likely to be a Cherry come August. But he has a tremendous amount of work to do if he is to become the main man at AFCB. He has to give himself every chance to put himself in the window before the returning Callum Wilson aims to get some game time. If he finds this difficult, I'd imagine he could well be a prime candidate to go out on loan come next January.

In other news, we wish Jeff Mostyn all the best in his recovery after his recent heart procedure. 
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Thursday, 22 June 2017

AFCB link up with M88 and seek an Asian connection

I was lucky enough to be given the full press release by M88 direct to my email box for the new AFCB club kit, so I just in case you didn't get the full impact of what the new kit is going to be like, here is a quick summary and a few of my thoughts on the marketing deal.
AFCB's new look home kit with M88 logo on display - font and centre!
M88 has announced a two-year partnership as the official shirt sponsor of AFC Bournemouth. The Asian market has become the Premier League’s highest spending region in terms of media rights, with 63 per cent of the Asian population following the Premier League. M88’s partnership with AFC Bournemouth allows the brand to bring football fans and customers in Asia closer to the club, with the creation of exclusive content and access.

Cherries boss Eddie Howe said: “It is probably one of the biggest changes at the club in recent seasons, and the amount of international exposure that AFC Bournemouth is getting is integral for the growth of the club

My thoughts, well the aim in certainly two-fold in that by having a sponsor that can give the best value to the club and a sponsor that will improve the Asian supporter side of the club. This second factor is the big one to grow the club in another market where it feels there is more capacity to grow the AFCB brand. Which parts of Asia will be targeted has not been made clear but there is growing football fans of the Premier League in India, China, Japan and many Southeast Asian countries.

In the last few years we have seen the club build contacts in North America, but this is clearly now the time when the club wants to not just appeal to English speaking fans in the USA, but is seeking wider appeal. You can expect that a tour to an Asian country may be something we see in the future.

My interest though will be to see if the club also looks to find players from Asia when it does look into these markets further. I am sure the club will also be keeping its eye on developments in Europe, North America and Africa, but by selecting Asia as a market it has to appeal to now it is plumping for probably the biggest market that is not fully tapped and perhaps AFCB can make ground on some of the bigger Premier League clubs by making connections in this region before maybe looking more closely at Africa where football is of course already massively followed.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Is Eddie going to talk Gradel round into staying at AFCB?

The transfer gossip on Max Gradel has been fairly quiet of late having been a a regular headline maker in April. Whether Max has been told to go away and think very carefully over what he decides to do is the advice, I hope he has been asked to take by the club as I still believe Gradel can be a success at AFCB if he desires it. Eddie Howe has not given him much game time, but Gradel has had some bad injuries and his ability to recover from them is perhaps not as quick as it would have been when he was a younger player.
Max Gradel's transfer news has quietened down.
All this has meant a stop start career at AFCB for Gradel and I can understand him questioning if it is just not meant to be, but I hope he gives it one more shot as there is no doubt he can be unplayable when he does get running at defenders. The situation that AFCB are in is a very strong one. They have some excellent wide men at the club and even if Gradel decided to move on they would be able to recover a good sized transfer fee from it to go back into the market. Gradel has signed a contract up to 2020, so he was very committed when he signed back in 2016, and if he gives himself at least another season on the south coast he may find that the offers for him are much better in 12 months time.


What Max really needs like so many players is a run of games. He has not had that at all since his return to the club and no player can feel confident f he is just picking up injuries every time he goes on the pitch. In that regard he is surely in the same camp as Callum Wilson, but the support system around these players is what is important when they aren't able to play.

Even being a sub at AFCB is not what Gradel wants, but to be a starter he has to have a great pre-season and really apply himself to the new season. If he can do that I am sure he will feel the love of the fans and his game will become strong again, which is what we all want to see.

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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

AFCB's new official website is a hit!

I was probably getting used to the old club site and finding my way around things so to see a new site pop up last week was a bit of a surprise, but a very nice one. It has been created by Stadion and is already grabbing my attention not only for stories but for its clean and open design.
One thing  the new site does have its lots of AFCB goals!
I asked a few questions on twitter to fans to see if there was any reaction to the change and I only received positive responses so if there are some that are not pleased they have kept quiet. AFCB have always been innovators and it is just like them to want the best for the fans, and I am looking forward to being able to see the interviews and correspondence without the premium price that you had to subscribe to in the past.

The interactivity of the site is going to be something special. Some fans will already have watched the live stream of the End of Season Awards night and it will be intriguing to see what AFCB come up with when they want to do some live broadcasts of events at the club and on tour. I have already been checking up past performances on the AFCBTV part of the site and hopefully when the new season begins we will see match reports and interviews go up as soon as they can after the game finishes.

The Opta stats will also be something that I am sure many of us will be looking at very closely to see why Eddie Howe is perhaps picking certain players over others when it comes to that all important starting line up.

I am not sure if AFCB are still looking for feed back, but you can see the form still up on the site if you want to tell them what you think about their site now.

Here is what some fans had to say about the site:

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Monday, 19 June 2017

Ryan Kent will be another AFCB midfielder trying to oust Arter and Surman

Last night the Daily Star reported that AFCB had made a £6 million bid for Liverpool's Ryan Kent. Cherry Chimes suggested this move in May after a Daily Express lead. The move follows the signing of Asmir Begovic and will be the third Liverpool player that AFCB have signed in the last year, after the signings of Jordan Ibe and Brad Smith. Like the latter two, Klopp is asking for a buy-back clause if the deal goes through.
Eddie Howe makes his bid for Liverpool's Ryan Kent.
Eddie Howe seems as keen to raid Liverpool as Liverpool are at raiding Southampton. The need to bring in youth is uppermost in Howe's thinking it would appear, although the attempts to give Arter and Surman competition in midfield have not seen the two regulars lessen their grip on their starting positions.

AFCB need to invest in this area though as the side is not scoring from central midfield. Whether Ryan Kent, Lewis Cook, Emerson Hyndman or Dan Gosling can shift the balance in their favour is something that will resolve itself throughout the season.  

The fans certainly love Harry Arter and he is a player that will always look to get forward when he can to make the extra man and to give assistance to the strikers. But even he admits it's been hard for him to score goals and he is keen to do better in front of goal.


Andrew Surman had a spell where he would take most of the free kicks, especially in AFCB's first season in the Premier League but it didn't really do anything to boost his goal count. I don't think it's a part of Surman's game that is likely to change now and his qualities in spotting passes and reading the game to make decisive tackles are more important attributes for his part of the side.

It may be some time before we see a player such as Ryan Kent oust Surman or Arter from the team, but if Kent can be signed on a long term contract then he will be a rising star in a couple of years and the building blocks will be in place for a young energetic team by 2018/19. For the moment both he and perhaps Emerson Hyndman could be loaned out with the number of central midfielders that would be at the club if this deal does go through. 

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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Did Bournemouth miss a trick with Newcastle winger?

When AFC Bournemouth were promoted to the Premier League in 2015 they needed to add quality and they did this through the loan system and landed a big fish in Ghanaian international Christian Atsu. Yet, the loan period from Chelsea was not profitable for Christian who only played in two League Cup matches and he was quickly recalled by and annoyed Jose Mourhinio. It’s been a different story for Christian though on Tyneside where he has become a fan’s favourite.
Christian just couldn't get in a league team for AFCB. Next thing is
he is helping Newcastle win a Championship and now
he has been signed up on Tyneside
Newcastle were quickly in to sign Atsu in June following his successful campaign with Newcastle in the Championship in 2016/17. The Ghanaian scored five goals in the Geordies’ promotion run and a price-tag of £6.2m sounds a reasonable outlay for an international player that has 42 caps and has been in a World Cup squad.

So did AFC Bournemouth miss a trick? The player that mainly kept Atsu out of the Cherries’ team was a certain Matt Ritchie who of course is now at Newcastle. The fact that Rafa Benitez has managed to get both players into his team is either a tale that Atsu has improved and Newcastle had less competition for places or Bournemouth’s wingers were exceptional to keep Atsu out of the team.


If the latter is true, Newcastle haven’t done too badly as Atsu will be looking to impress in the top flight and with the Geordie crowd behind him, he has everything to play for. For once, Eddie How might have missed out on a player that just needed some games.

Sometimes players need to be give a chance and now that Atsu has found that at Newcastle he looks like a bargain buy. 

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