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.

HITC articles 
- What should Pardew's next step be?
- Why Hull City should move for Tommy Elphick

1 comment:

  1. I said this last year and was wrong - except for the Chelsea game- I think they will go to a back 3 this year. Maybe a 3-5-2 with Francis, Cook and Daniels/Mings in the back and Ake supplying cover. It seems with the folks they have added in the last two years this looks like it might have been the plan.