Sunday, 30 June 2019

Tough AFCB training regime begins

AFCB's players were the first Premier League team back to start their training on the hottest day of the year. There were a few old faces that we haven't seen for a while being put through their paces and the gruelling 1600m run certainly tested the fitness of those who had been enjoying the summer.
Arter looked happy to be back among his AFCB team-mates.
The first face we saw was Harry Arter on the video and he looked very pleased to be among old fiends. I don't think I'm alone in wanting Harry to stick around next season but he may be surplus to needs again and could be sold or put out on loan. I still believe he has loads to offer and considering the problems in central midfield last season , I don't see why it is a problem to have Harry trying to compete for a place. Furthermore, the pictures showed that Lewis Cook was doing well on his recovery, and it's hopeful that we see a lot more of him, Junior Stanislas and Simon Francis next season.

We also saw Connor Mahoney bing put through his paces on the bike, and I'd like to think that talks about Millwall are not going to end in him being sold. If AFCB release their younger players then they have to replace them, and the comments from Birmingham City fans are nothing but positive about last season so I'd say he's a keeper.

What really made me smile though was to see Adam Smith absolutely wiping the floor with the others on the 1600m run. He looks well up for the new season and hopefully if he can avoid injury he will have a better season.

I imagine Steve Fletcher loves the first day of training. He was barking out the motivation for working harder on the bike test, and yet I imagine having Big' un in your ear every few seconds is the last thing you want if you want an easy day. I don't expect there are many easy days from now on.

Cherry Chimes Newsletter - out tomorrow!
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 - Spanish retreat is just the ticket for AFCB?
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Saturday, 29 June 2019

Bournemouth search for a right back leads to Rangers

The Cherries are short of a right back to keep Adam Smith on his toes, and with Simon Francis finding the position a bit demanding, it is clear that AFCB are still in the hunt for a quick full-back. That search might have forced them to ask about Nathaniel Clyne at Liverpool, but Clyne seems to want a move to Crystal Palace. The hunt now has taken AFCB north of the boarder to Scotland.
Could a Rangers' man be on his way to Dean Court?
Bournemouth are being linked with Rangers defender James Tavernier, according to Rangers News. It appears that Bournemouth are looking for a player that can fit straight into the side and at 27 Tavernier has had Premier League experience at Newcastle United in his early years, and he has had many loan moves to league One sides like Sheffield Wednesday and Wigan before he joined Rangers in 2015.

Tavernier is currently club captain at Rangers and his seniority and knowledge could be a good asset for Bournemouth. There is perhaps also the possibility that the ongoing deal with Jermain Defoe makes it a bit easier for Bournemouth to go and get Tavernier, although Stephen Gerrard is no doubt less than pleased to hear a Premier League club is keen on one of his best defenders.

Rangers News has put an estimated price-tag of £8m for Tavernier which seems a good affordable price for a club like AFCB. While the national papers haven't been shouting about this possible move, it seems to be a logical transfer target for the Cherries if they are not going after Clyne.

Meanwhile, Emerson Hyndman is being linked with a move to Atlanta Journal in the MLS, according to Atlanta Journal Constitution. Hyndman still has a year left on his AFCB contract.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Put yourself in Wilson's boots AFCB or West Ham?

It sounds like West Ham are making a concerted effort to try and sign AFCB's top scorer. The Sun has been the main source of rumour that Wilson could be on his way, but considering what is on offer at West Ham with perhaps a doubling of his salary is it a move Wilson should consider?
In demand AFCB's Callum Wilson.
I very much believe it is a firstly a matter of whether AFCB are even remotely interested in letting their top striker go to a club that did not finish so far above them in the league last season. AFCB's aim will be to catch clubs like West Ham and not give them our best players to move further ahead. So I don't see a big incentive for AFCB as even £35-40m is not going to guarantee AFCB being able to bring in another striker that will score 13 or more goals next season and Coventry City would take a share of that figure.

While Callum Wilson was quick to say that Ryan Fraser was going nowhere this summer, it may now be Fraser's turn to say he doesn't want their partnership to be broken up. But a serious rise in salary will be tempting to any player and the location of London offers a great deal, even if West Ham are not in European football next season. It is no surprise that the Hammers are keen to get hold of Wilson as they find him impossible to stop whenever the two teams meet. Wilson will be well aware of that and probably would not be keen on not getting the chance to put a few goals past West Ham next season.

He is West Ham's tormentor and it's excellent recognition of what he has done to their hopes of getting points in the games with AFCB. The priorities of Wilson will be to keep his England hopes going and to score as many goals as he can. Would he get better service at West Ham? All I know is that he would have a lot more pressure to score goals and how he would react to that is something only Wilson could answer. If he stays at AFCb one more year would he be in line for a bigger club?

If it had been a top six club coming in, I expect the AFCB fans would be a bit more worried about a deal, but West Ham are relying on Wilson being keen to raise his salary above all else and hope they have enough money to allow AFCB to talk to Wilson. I expect West Ham would have to offer significantly more to get a foot in the door for those talks.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Mahoney's future at AFCB in doubt?

It looks like Connor Mahoney's time at AFCB could be up. Mind you, he has been out more on loan at Barnsley and Birmingham City more than he has played for AFCB since his signing two years ago from Blackburn Rovers. The Daily Mail is convinced that the winger is signing though for Millwall, and while he is back for pre-season training he is expected to go strait to The New Den for a medical before joining the south London club.
Connor Mahoney could be off but AFCB have not commented on any move yet.
How did we get here? My feeling is that Connor was less than pleased with being an AFCB player being sent out on loan without getting an opportunity to play football for the Premier League club he signed for. Why should he see games going by without being apart of the club he wanted to be at? I kind of get this point of view and he had such a good season at Birmingham City that he knows he can rip it up in the Championship and could help a team get into the promotion places.

Millwall's gain could be AFCB's loss though. I don't think we really know how good Mahoney could become and he is still learning. The sad thing if he does leave is that it might not leave such a good impression with other young players who have thought about joining AFCB. While some players have thrived under Eddie Howe others have just not been seen enough, and whether that is AFCB not taking any risks or some players not dedicating themselves enough to the cause is a shame either way. 

I wish Connor the very best if he does have a Championship season lined up in front of him with a new club that wants to play him. The lure of the Premier League is exciting for any player but it's not fun if you are not playing football. Somehow, I don't expect Mahoney is the last player that is signed with potential for AFCB, but finds he is better off elsewhere. Emerson Hyndman must be another possible candidate that has wondered whether he needs to move again. Sadly for Mahoney, AFCB's fixation for wingers is that they buy surplus to requirements. Sometimes the shop for players looks just too inviting and AFCB perhaps spend more than they need at times. Maybe we have a window this summer when the club is not going to buy for the sake of buying.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

What should we expect from Welsh winger next season?

The first season David Brooks has had at Bournemouth more than covered his £12m transfer fee from Sheffield United. It may have been that move that helped Sheffield get to the Premier League, but I bet they wish they had been able to keep hold of him for a bit longer. As the beneficiaries of David Brooks, AFCB may have a fight on to keep hold of him, but I expect it to be another year of development with AFCB for Brooks before we see his star rise even higher.
David Brooks is wanted by the likes of Man Utd and Tottenham but AFCB
will do everything to make sure he plays at Dean Court for  some years to come.
It is hard to believe that Brooks is only 21. He has a great opportunity to become one of the star players in the Premier League, and if he can take his game another step forward it could be a huge help for the Cherries in their bid to become a top 10 team again. For that to happen I'd like to see Brooks see that he is surrounded by other players that can also take the team further. While transfers have been slow to emerge, there is the return of Lewis Cook to look forward to, and I expect it will help Brooks to see another young international looking to become a bigger name at AFCB.

But arguably it will be competition for Brooks' position that will be the spur to really push Brooks on. I had expected to see Connor Mahoney play for AFCB in August rather than be loaned out, but the Daily Mail is saying that he is being sold to Millwall. So Stanislas is likely to be the other player to test Brooks for his starting place. But Jordan Ibe we hear could be leaving. It is perhaps not enough to really keep Brooks on edge and he may have to set his own personal targets to take his game on.

Scoring goals came fairly easily early on last season for Brooks, but he did start to slow down in the second half of the season. Whether he feels he can make more assists and score more goal will ultimately determine his season to most fans, but because AFCB have a clear problem in keeping teams out I'd also like him to keep working at his defensive game. I think Adam Smith could be a big help to him in this respect as Smith is perhaps a little stronger in his defensive game, but is also a player that is always very keen to get forward. It's knowing how to balance the decision making where I think Brooks still has room to develop, and if he can get the balance right we could find that the right wing is just as productive as Ryan Fraser on the left wing.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Howe among leading candidates for Newcastle job

It was a bad day for Newcastle United fans yesterday as Rafa Benitez's reign at the club came to an end. But now it will probably be bad news for another club as Mike Ashley looks to grab a proven manager in the Premier League. While Gary Monk and Jose Mourinho are the leading contenders, Bet888 make Eddie Howe a 9-1 shot for the vacant position, while the BBC had Howe as second favourite in the first few hours after the announcement that Benitez was leaving.
Eddie Howe is one of the favourites with the bookies for Newcastle job.
I was surprised to even hear that Howe was on any of the Betting boards for the Newcastle job. I have to say that Newcastle is a big club and for Howe it would be great for his CV if he moved there and did well, but Eddie has not had the best of seasons and there are several other candidates who should be well ahead of him for consideration.

There will come a time when Howe does look at a new challenge. We may or may not like that when it comes, and even now some might consider that Howe is keeping AFCB afloat in the Premier League, but hasn't managed to build the club into a consistent top 10 side. If that is success for AFCB then Howe is on the verge of repeating a top 10 finish, but keeping there is not easy. What he does have is the backing of the board and owner at AFCB which is half the battle for a manager.


Whoever steps into the Newcastle job will have to work with the notoriously difficult Mike Ashley and the availability of funds for transfers looks doubtful considering that Benitez couldn't get his hands on any money. So AFCB fans can expect Howe to slip further down the prospects for the Newcastle job. To me it says that there aren't many managers that haven't got a damaged record, but Chris Hughton would be my bet for a return to the Toon.

Monday, 24 June 2019

AFCB already looking forward to winter break

Eddie Howe has come out commenting that he will one manger who is grateful of the winter break in February. While the English Premier League will be trying this for the first time, we have yet to see what impact the break will have with some clubs not having a game on 8 February and others on 15th February. I'm all for the break but feel that two-weeks would have been more beneficial.
AFCB will have a week to recharge the batteries in February.

Of course, the problem is with a break that the longer clubs have the more likely it is that they will fly elsewhere and get in extra games in money-spinning friendlies. By only missing one week the clubs can't easily do anything but provide light training for their players. But it could be very important how clubs use the break and who uses it the best to help their players. With everything so well detailed to the smallest degree in football clubs, the winter break is something new and we don't know who the break will benefit most.

Eddie Howe will take his team to Sheffield United on one of the weekends in February on either side of the break and it will be a key game you'd expect in trying to ensure AFCB are not engaged in a relegation battle. The game will be a tough one I'm sure and so the break would be a big help at that time if the game comes on 15th February.

AFCB suffered more than their fair share of injuries last season. Anything to help reduce players missing games must be applauded. But with just a week to relax and keep fit rather than play games, will it have the big impact the league and the managers hope for recharging their players' batteries? Or will it have little impact?

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Bournemouth head betting to sign Burnley keeper

Bournemouth's odds of signing Tom Heaton have come in to 2-1 since the keeper decided not to extend his contract at Burnley. The Cherries have been looking for a keeper all summer as Asmir Begovic is expected to be sent on his way. But is Heaton the best option for the Cherries seeing that they have been checking out just about every available keeper?

Is Heaton the best option AFCB have to rival Boruc?
Of the Burnley keepers, I would say Heaton is the one I'd be most interested in. He is not the biggest or stunning of keepers in my estimations, but as they say what you need is a safe pair of hands and he certainly has that. Heaton is very experienced and I think he would work well with Boruc in quite a tight competition for the number one shirt.

Aston Villa are also thought to be keen on the Burnley man, but have themselves become the market leaders, ahead of AFCB, to sign Jack Butland of Stoke City. Butland is the younger keeper at 26 and will command a much bigger transfer fee than the 33-year old Heaton. But Heaton has been in and around the Premier League, while Butland has dropped down to the Championship, and for Heaton it would probably be his last transfer.

Heaton would be desperate to pick the right club and if that is AFCB we should get a dedicated keeper who would see AFCB as a place where he could get his name quickly recognised by Gareth Southgate, if he could start to reduce the number of goals AFCB have been conceding.

AFCB need the team players and the hard workers. To me Heaton fits the bill best of the most likely options, although Simon Mignotlet would also give Boruc a run for his money in my opinion. If a stable character is something that Howe is also keen on, then I'd also go for Heaton. He ticks more boxes and if he can make AFCB more solid than it will be a decent summer buy. AFCB need to work quickly though if they want him as Watford are also said to join the race to sign him, according to the Sun.

Meanwhile, Asmir Begovic is stills et to rejoin the Cherries for pre-season training next Saturday despite interest from Celtic, Stoke City, Watford, Fenerbeche and Olympiacos, according to the Daly Star.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Is the jury still out on Lys Mousset?

Lys Mousset signed for Bournemouth in 2016 on a four-year deal which means he has just one more season to make his mark before his contract is up. Eddie Howe faces a decision whether to renew the contract or let Mousset go on a free transfer, unless a team comes in for the player this summer. But do we really know if Mousset can cut it in the Premier League?
Is Lys Mousset coming to the end of his AFC career?
I was astonished to see that Mousset has made 50 appearances in the Premier League. Okay, not many of them are starts, but he has been stacking up the minutes on the field. But as a bit-part player, there is a sense that Mousset is not going to amount to anything more. He has been in and around the first squad for three seasons and for me that's just not good enough if AFCB were making the signing on potential that would eventually turn into a first team regular.

But is that Mousset's fault or AFCB?s I don't know enough about Mousset's character to know if he puts everything into his training and his professional career. We can only judge by what we see on the pitch on a match day, and getting on for 10-15 minutes is difficult at the end of games. If Eddie Howe doesn't see Mousset as the best player to partner with Wilson or King, then it is hard to make a case for keeping Mousset beyond his last year. Solanke is already going to give Mousset a problem in the pecking order and Sam Surridge could also be better than Mousset, if Surridge doesn't go out on loan.

Whether it is good business to hold on to Mousset is perhaps the question we should be asking. AFCB could reinvest his transfer money on a more prolific striker. Mousset has simply not developed far enough to excite and I fear it is another foreign signing that just hasn't come off for AFCB.

In other news, the Bournemouth Echo reports that Joe Partington has rejoined AFCB in a position at the Academy while still playing part-time for Eastleigh.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Ex-Brentford defender has a huge challenge next season

As a January signing, Chris Mepham might have expected that he'd have to wait some time to get into AFCB's side. In fact, he was thrown in fairly quickly when Steve Cook suffered a groin problem and a position next to Nathan AkΓ© was vacant for him. It's been a reasonable start to his Bournemouth career, but it's only now that Mepham will find out is he has enough about him to become a permanent defender in AFCB's starting line up.
Chris Mepham has had a taste of the Premier League, but he'll have
more competition for place next season.

It was not unexpected that Mepham might make the odd mistake. He contributed though to some good defensive displays at a time when AFCB were fully stretched for players at the back. The return of Steve Cook to fitness though saw Mepham scrapping for attention with Jack Simpson, while an injury against Southampton in the 3-3 draw left Mepham as an onlooking sub in the last two games, although he did get on against Palace.

The start of next season holds no guarantees for him. Simon Francis will be back by mid-Autumn if all things go well for him and Eddie Howe will want to test the centre-backs more than ever looking at the disappointing amounts of goals that AFCB let in last season. While Steve Cook and Nathan AkΓ© can be expected to get the first opportunity to play at centre-back, it will be a test of Mepham's character to see if he can keep his performance high, even if he is not getting many minutes. While he wants to keep his international appearances going for Wales, it may not be easy for him to keep in front of Ryan Giggs eye.
That's why it is a huge season for Chris Mepham coming up and that's even before AFCB consider bringing any other additions into the team. Left-back Lloyd Kelly also has aspirations to eventually become a centre-back, which may be something Howe looks at least in training. Both Jack Simpson and Chris Mepham are going to be very much the young pretenders who can step in when needed at a moments notice, but that in itself merely adds to the pressure when you've not been getting games. Mepham might find the cup matches are going to be very important for him in 2018/19 and who knows he could find that he forms a good partnership with Simpson Francis or Jack Simpson in some of those games.. 

In other news, AFC have been linked to signing Tom Heaton, according to the Daily Mail who ays Heaton has rejecte a new contract at Burnley.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Defender not hanging about at AFCB

There was interesting rumours on Spanish site Mundo Reportivo this week stating that Real Sociedad was interested on plucking Diego Rico away from his Bournemouth nightmare. The Spanish team are in need of a left-back, and having seen AFCB sign Lloyd Kelly this summer, it looks likely that Rico is not going to hang around to be pushed further down the pecking order at the Cherries.
Diego Rico looks to be on his way out of AFCB.
AFCB's record of foreign transfers doing well in the Premier League is not particularly strong. While Juan Iturbe had great skill, he was more of a spectator during his time at the club in the 2015/16 season and Lys Mousset has only done marginally better. Before that of course we have had players in recent years like Mohammed Coulibaly and Tokelo Rantie who also found the going too tough at AFCB. But when Jefferson Lerma and Diego Rico were signed in 2018, it seemed like Bournemouth were really reaching out to continental players and fans might ave expected both players to be shoe-ins for automatic starting places. But only Lerma has made the grade with any consistency.

Diego Rico has always shown plenty of energy and running commitment but he hasn't really got to grips with the defensive duties up the left flank and it looks like Eddie Howe is ready to try something new with Lloyd Kelly. So Rico is probably surplus to requirements, and a move to Real Sociedad would be something that could work for both the player and AFCB who need to start balancing their transfer books a bit better.
Whether Rico still feels he can force more Premier League appearances is what he needs to ask himself this summer, but if the answer is no then you'd think he would want to be on the move. AFCB have enough squad players, they need to find players that can step straight into the first team and if that means letting go of players like Rico, I'd say it's good business.

In other news, Man Utd are said to be keen to target David Brooks, according to the Daily Mail.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Is there any interest in recalling Defoe from Rangers?

Jermain has been absent from Bournemouth's thoughts really since January when he went to Rangers on loan. In Scotland Defoe did what he didn't manage to do down in Bournemouth bring goals, goals, goals - eight goals and two assists in just 945 minutes of football. So is Jermain to play out his 18 month loan at Rangers or are AFCB at all interested in a recall this summer?
Defoe is doing better a long way from home.
The likelihood is that Defoe will be allowed to stay with the Scottish team for the rest of the loan, but after that it's not clear what AFCB will do. Jermain has improved his name again with the Scottish goals, but it is late in his career and he really needed to score the goals in the English Premier League to stay at the very top level. Now he may be destined to play out his career in Scotland, and while that may be great for the Rangers fans, the signing, which was made with much fanfare as Defoe's return to the south coast, now looks like it was a costly signing for AFCB.

Why Defoe could not do better at Bournemouth is one of those questions that only himself and Eddie Howe could answer. He had a few moments like his looped goal against Crystal Palace, but he was not the Defoe that found the net easy to find and ultimately AFCB didn't have time in the Premier League to wait for the golden touch to come back. Now that he is scoring goals again, is there any interest in Defoe back in Bournemouth?


Lys Mousset and Dominic Solanke are surely the future as far as AFCB are concerned (personally, I don't see them doing as well as Defoe) and unless a forward does leave this summer, it is hard to see where Defoe would have a job to do back on the south coast. But if Defoe does play out most of his Bournemouth contract up at Rangers rather than at AFCB, does it impact on future signings of big names who are coming to the end of their Premier League careers? The way AFCB have been lining up young internationals rather than experienced names you can't help but think players like Defoe just don't fit the profile of AFCB anymore.

In other news, Dominik Solanke managed 70 minutes in England U21s 2-1 defeat in European Championship match their match against France. Both French goals came in to 89 and 90+5 minute. England keeper Dean Henderson also saved a first half penalty.

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Fraser saga just won't go away

AFCB have made it very clear that they have no desire to sell Ryan Fraser. While the club has a year on his contract left, they are standing by that and are well aware that clubs like Arsenal may be interested in the winger who had a great season in 2018-19. Ryan has been talking perhaps more than the club might like in the press, but he has made his position well-known and clubs may take his comments as an invitation to come in for him this summer.
Is the situation with Fraser becoming a war of words?

The club took the unprecedented step of releasing a statement from Neill Blake over the weekend just to take some pressure out of the situation and to refute any idea that they have not tried to hold talks with Fraser on a new contract. Still what is clear is that the ongoing rumours in the national and local press will do nothing to help the player settle into a restful summer and prepare for  what could be his final season with AFCB. If relations do break down between the player and the club then it will be a very difficult season for Fraser coming up, if he has not left the club, which would be a big pity considering what he has done for AFCB, and the history AFCB and Fraser have. 

All we can hope is that Ryan is more interested in playing football and making himself better as a football player, rather than get into too much of a battle over where his future will be. Concentrating on the football is not going to be easy with all this going on and it is quite surprising that Fraser had the season he did, while we know there must have been a lot of uncertainty for him since last September when talks were ongoing on his future with AFCB.
The situation now though looks unhealthy. AFCB are finding that the whole summer is being dominated by talk about Ryan Fraser and where he could be playing come August when that is the last thing that they want AFCB in the papers for, if they are trying to get him to consider a new contract. Eddie Howe will want a dressing room that is united, but they won't want distractions like this. Despite Fraser having made a record number of 13 assists and seven goals last season, it may be that AFCB decide for the good of the team it is time to part ways with Fraser rather than make him play out his final year. If Fraser really doesn't feel that his future is with AFCB, then it is surely best to get what the club can for him.

In other news, Tommy Elphick has joined Huddersfield Town after a successful spell at Aston Villa.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Joe Hart - please Eddie, don't go there!

What is it with AFCB always choosing the cheap option for one of the most important positions on the field? Goalkeepers are specialists and we have seen in the four years that AFCB have been in the Premier League that keepers can save a club a lot of points, while they can also be very costly. While AFCB are being linked with former England number ones, have they forgotten their own philosophy of playing from the back, if they do put in a bid for Joe Hart?
Joe Hart didn't rejuvenate his career at West Ham or Burnley
yet AFCB seem willing to take a chance on him.

Man City certainly didn't feel that Hart could play with his feet well enough and yet AFCB seem more concerned to have a shot stopper than a keeper than can feel comfortable on the ball at the back. I fear it could be a big mistake. Even Burnley have pushed Joe Hart down the pecking order and the former England keeper. Burnley's embarrassment of riches in the keeper position is in sharp contract to the lack in top quality keepers at AFCB. But if AFCB sign Joe Hart as their number one, don't be surprised if its a season in the relegation zone.

Artur Boruc needs competition and if Howe won't allow the young keepers of Ramsdale and Travers to share the position, then an experienced keeper will have to come in. But AFCB paid £10m on Begovic who did not improve things and if they go for Hart they could be looking at around half that amount having seen Burnley buy him from Man City for £3.5m in 2018 - it's the cheap option. Jack Butland is still reckoned to be AFCB's number one target, but his valuation of £20m by Stoke City is looking rather rich. Both Hart and Butland would also want big salaries - what are AFCB doing? The only positive I could see in a move for Joe Hart is that he is English, and that he has played in high-pressure games. The problem is, he hasn't don't well when the pressure is on, especially in big international games, even if his Premier League record has been better.
It makes me feel there must be a shortage of available keepers if AFCB are looking at Joe Hart. It's not a signing to say AFCB, we're on the way up. He's not a big name anymore. It is more a thought of we know they'll be some keeper blunders if Hart is made AFCB's number one for next season. If AFCB have been good or lucky with some of their transfers of outfield players in recent seasons, their goalkeeping choices have been poor and it doesn't look like they are improving in this area. More thought is required about the goalkeeping position and buying yesterday's heroes is a weak link that is going to cost AFCB far more than the transfer fee - it will cost points on the pitch. Please, Eddie - no!

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Can Stanislas go injury-free to rival Brooks?

While Tottenham might have desires on David Brooks, a main concern for AFCB should be whether they have a  strong enough line up behind Brooks who can really challenge for his position next season. While there has been rumours about Ibe being sought after by Leicester City, AFCB may be ever more reliant on Junior Stanislas.
How many games can Stanislas get in next season?
Junior is probably my favourite player at the club. It is not because he plays a lot of games! Every season he picks up injuries and has found it very difficult to hold down a starting place for a while now. But I rate Stanislas very highly. He likes to take free kicks with a varying success rate and yet he has a habit of scoring very important goals when they really are needed in games. Many of the fightbacks AFCB make happen when Stanislas gets on the score sheet.

From what we have seen in the last season it will be hard for Stanislas to expect jump ahead of David Brooks. While Stanislas has also played as a make-do striker, Eddie Howe has used him sparingly in that role. I still don't believe we have seen the full potential of Stanislas who would benefit from having a full pre-season and regular season. Whether he is unlucky or his body is trying to tell him something is perhaps only something he knows. But a tip-top Junior Stanislas is a fantastic asset for AFCB. We need him on the pitch and playing with confidence.

What I fear for Stanislas is that if he doesn't get into the team early on we could see him as one of the players who is let out on loan come January next year, especially if AFCB have brought in one or two new wingers in the summer. So the first few months of the season could be the biggest test for Stanislas for quite some time, and that's not easy when you know you are coming back from another serious injury-laden season.

In other news, AFCB has released a club statement from Neill Blake on the situation with Ryan Fraser after the Bournemouth Echo posted an article on Fraser not having spoken with AFCB on his future for some time and other reports state that Fraser believes it is unlikely any club will pay £30m for him. It seems that AFCB wanted to make clear that it has made every effort to get Fraser to sign a new contract and that they hope to work with hime next season, but "In September 2018, at the request of Ryan’s representative, negotiations were paused to allow the player to focus entirely on his football," said Neill Blake.

Meanwhile, Jefferson Lerma provided an assist in the second goal of Colombia's 2-0 win over Argentina in their Copa America match. Colombia next play Qatar on Wednesday.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Have AFCB dropped interest in Liverpool defender?

Nathaniel Clyne was a major part of the second half of Bournemouth's Premier League fourth season. Having come in on loan to cover for the injury to Simon Francis, he soon found his way into the team and seemed to get to grips with the AFCB style of play fairly quickly. But while I believe most Bournemouth fans were impressed enough by what they saw of Clyne, here we are in June and there has been no news of AFCB filing a bid with Liverpool for the England international.

Will we see Clyne in a Bournemouth shirt in 2019/10?
There could be many reasons why we have not heard more about a move for Clyne. Liverpool could be holding out for the best offer. Bournemouth might have ruled him out over salary demands or the potential transfer fee. Eddie Howe might have decided he's not what the team needs.

But hold on a second. AFCB let in a massive amount of goals last season and how many was Clyne responsible for? Not too many in my book. Do Bournemouth need to improve their defence? You bet, and would Bournemouth find another player who knows how AFCB works and plays to fit in at the start of next season as well as Clyne? 

It may seem a no brainer to some of us fans, but AFCB usually do their best to get transfers over the line quickly in the first few weeks of the summer. That is what disturbs me about Clyne. There simply hasn't been enough talk and gossip about the player on the south coast and it could be because AFCB are held up in trying to sign another Liverpool player (Harry Wilson) as well like they did when Jordan Ibe and Brad Smith joined the club.  

If AFCB are pinning their hopes on a double deal, it could end up a summer that is filled with missed opportunities. While AFCB seem intent in signing young players, there is some kind of safety in signing one player at least who is an established player in the Premier League and I had hoped that Clyne would be that player. Now I'm not so sure.

In other news, Norwich and Leeds are reported to be interested in a Mark Travers loan move next season, according to the Irish Sun. Jefferson Lerma is expected to be involved in the Cupa America match between Colombia and Argentina tonight.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Analysis of AFCB's Fixtures for 2018/19

Looking at the line up of Bournemouth's fixtures for next season, I can't help but think that AFCB have to get off to a good start before the tougher games start to mount up. The teams  all have to play one another over the course of a season, but the fixture calendar can do a lot of mental damage to players before a ball is even kicked if it looks like an uphill battle.
Home form will be crucial again in AFCB's bid to have a successful Premier League season.
The first match against newcomers Sheffield United will certainly mean David Brooks is the front runner to get his picture on the cover of the MatchDay programme as an ex-Blade. But while Bournemouth have only won one of their last four Premier League first games there is an even worse statistic for Sheffield United fans to take in. Out of those four opponents for Bournemouth, no matter whether AFCB have won or lost their first game, three of them (Aston Villa, WBA and Cardiff City) were relegated in those seasons. Only Man Utd have survived that curse so far of drawing AFCB out of the hat first.

While the opening two games against Sheffield United at home and Aston Villa away for give AFCB a fair chance to start the season well against two newly-promoted teams, it is worth reminding ourselves that Bournemouth lost three out of the six games to Fulham, Wolves and Cardiff last season. Premier League new boys always have something to prove and being the underdog spurs them on. But if Bournemouth can go into the Man City game having secured six points, it could well be first against second!

The Man City test could be helpful early on, as if the Cherries can put in a good performance in their second home match it will set them up for the key game sin September and October which are against teams which I feel the result could very much go either way - Leicester, Everton, Southampton, West Ham, Arsenal, Norwich and Watford. This is when AFCB need to accumulate to make the second half of the season easier.

Come November and the fixtures look much more challenging with Man Utd at home, Newcastle away, Wolves at home and Spurs away. But December is again the month that holds most difficulty with 19 days between the games of Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal and if AFCB do well in the Carabao Cup then they'll possibly have another game against a top six club in that period!

We might get to breath a bit in January and February when points will again be vital to get some momentum going even with the winter break. We'll need to win games in those months because if Bournemouth are not safe by the start of April they will be in a desperate place with Man United, Man City and Spurs lying in wait amongst the last five games!

I am looking forward to the last home match against Southampton. I just hope we can be singing 'Mind the gap to the Saints'. And while we know there has been some moaning about having Everton in an away game for the last match, perhaps it could be a European play-off match.

For me, it's all about getting off to a good start and getting the first 20 points up as quickly as possible and making space between AFCB and the bottom three. The players are used to the challenge, but every season brings it's problems. What we need is a season with fewer injuries and less mistakes, who knows where that could take AFCB?