Friday, 1 July 2016

Do AFCB have a major rebuild project to do this summer?

While the loss of Tommy Elphick was not seen by all as too much of a problem of a departure to replace, the decision to sell Matt Ritchie has come as more of a shock. I am sure Ritchie will do well at Newcastle he has been a great player to watch over the last few years and it will be strange not to see him on the pitch. 

Matt Ritchie could well have left last January so I would imagine that AFCB have been doing a fair bit of scouting on wingers. Why have AFCB agreed to the sale? May be because they have looked at the great season Matt had in the promotional year from the Championship and then felt that he did not quite score or set up nearly as many goals in the Premier League.
How much fixing do AFCB need?
The worry is that the big clubs have already been eyeing up Callum Wilson and keeping hold of him is a huge priority if AFCB are to keep a consistency in their squad. Benik Afobe, Lewis Grabban and Josh King will also be trying to win a starting spot, and competition for them has just risen with the signing of Lys Mousset who may find it his job to play on the right where Ritchie was ever present.

If there were to be more players sold though, it would free up some funds for additions in defence where I believe the fans would like to see some new names. The signing of Nathan Aké may seem defensive, but Eddie has made it clear that he can also play as a centre-back or even as a central midfielder as AFCB are likely to use him. 

The spine of the team is always important and with Wilson, Arter, Surman, Cook and Francis most likely to find their places still open for them, I wonder if AFCB are missing a trick or if they still have plans for landmark signing that will make them a far harder side to beat. I feel that Emerson Hyndman may keep Shaun MacDonald or Eunan O'Kane off the bench, but it will be tough for him to walk straight into this side.

Euro 2016: Wales won't freeze like the English

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Cherry Chimes' July Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month, plus there is a special Newsletter article entitled: Getting the balance right

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Thursday, 30 June 2016

French fire power added to AFCB with Lys Mouset

So AFCB have opted to delve into the French Ligue 2 to sign Le Havre striker Lys Mouset on a four year deal. It is not a bad place to look seeing that Riyad Marhez did okay at Leicester City in 2015-16. The signing had been in the cards for a few weeks and while he is seen as a potential of great potential according to Neill Blake AFCB will need to see such new signings make a good start to the Premier League careers if they are to survive the 2016-17 season with the club's status still in tact.

Whether Lys plays as an out and out striker or fills a wing position is not yet clear. Like Nathan Aké it appears that AFCB are looking for players that can play in one or two positions having experienced the injury problems they did last season. Being adaptable to play in a couple of positions is not that usual for English clubs but I can see the benefits of players that are not frightened of playing in more than one position.

This is not a player you want to leave space for in and around the box. I can see Eddie thinking about playing him on the right wing as he has provided some great assists. FV Video.

The profile of the squad is starting to look full of U20 and U21 internationals and I don't think that is a bad thing. They have ambition and talent that needs to be nurtured and Eddie Howe has a good record of developing young players. The four-year deal gives Lys plenty of security having been reportedly signed for £5.4m, according to the Daily Mirror or £6.8m reports the Echo. Apparently, Sunderland, Spurs, Arsenal, Bristol City and Italian side Torino had been chasing Lys, so it was a big scoop for AFCB.

Looking at the players that are being signed it suggests that the Cherries are going to be an even more attacking side next season if that is at all possible. Eddie is an advocate of being positive and scoring goals and if AFCB are to stay up it will be with the firepower they are now accumulating.

Magpies poised to grab Ritchie

Newcastle Utd seem ever more confident of landing AFCB winger Matt Ritchie for £12m and Sky Sports say talks are ongoing. I find it quite staggering that Matt would take that step down considering his international prospects, but I guess he has had reassurance from Gordon Strachan. A move also protects his AFCB legacy and enables him to live closer to Scotland, if he is to play up north, and he'll probably trebling his wages. That would of course leave a gap in AFCB's Premier League squad and I hope that Eddie Howe believes that Ryan Fraser is ready to play his part in the squad going forward.
Is Ritchie another AFCB player that wants a new challenge?
We have not seen enough of Ryan Fraser. His nippy wing play and quick thinking was always a great sight to see at Dean Court in AFCB's Championship years, but if he is to step up to being a Premier League player he will have to improve his finishing and get his name up on the assists board. What AFCB can benefit from is Ryan's pace and directness of running at defences. He has a different style to Matt Ritchie and prefers to play on the left, but he is already a bright prospect and I think fans want to see more young players get their chance in the Premier League. AFCB still have a large crop of wingers with Stanislas, Grabban, Pugh and Gradel as well as Fraser so there are still quite a few options for some one to play on the right with Stanislas probably in prime position to take the starting place.

There is no done deal yet for Matt Ritchie and while the Daily Mirror see him as being on his way it will be of interest to hear what AFCB say today or tomorrow, if anything at all. Whatever the outcome of this transfer interest from Rafa Benitez, it is apparent that AFCB will do very well to hold on to their Scottish winger who has attracted more and more attention for his international performances. 
Can Ryan Fraser find a spot in the squad if Ritchie departs?
It does seem strange though that another member of this Premier League squad is expecting to drop back down to the Championship, while AFCB have started this summer's transfer business by buying a Championship player. Money talks though and £12m looks more than West Ham are willing to pay for Matt. It remains to be seen if Eddie and Neill Blake will want to replace Ritchie with a new signing or if we could see more of Ryan Fraser next season.

Meanwhile, AFCB have announced that the first team will go to the USA this summer to Chicago and will play Minnesota Utd on 20 July.

The Cherry Chimes' Newsletter is out tomorrow.

Cherry Chimes' July Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month, plus there is a special Newsletter article entitled: Getting the balance right

To sign up for the newsletter just complete the form below - like all good things it's free:

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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Nathan Aké strengthens AFCB's back line

AFCB have signed Nathan Aké of Chelsea on loan for next season. Aké played for Watford for most of last season at left back and will give competition to Charlie Daniels, Tyrone Mings and Rhoys Wiggins for a place in the side.

The last couple of season-loan players for AFCB have not really worked out in the case of Christian Atsu and Juan Iturbe, but there is more promise perhaps with Nathan that has already proved his worth in the Premier League. The Netherlands U21 international was Watford's young player of the season in 2015-16 and has played 12 times for Chelsea.
Nathan Aké at Dean Court last October.
This is an important signing in terms of the quality that AFCB need. The back four was not overly strong last season and while the left back role was mainly held by Charlie Daniels it is expecting a lot of him to play just as many games again in this coming season and to have some options must be a bonus for the side. Nathan has also played in a Champions League match for Chelsea so there is no doubting his quality and it is likely that we will see a lot of him at Dean Court. Nathan can also play in midfield and is a product of the Feyenoord youth academy.

It does take a little pressure off of Tyrone Mings to make it back early and I would expect that he will be targeting the second half of the season to be in contention for team selection now that more cover has been brought in for the left back position. 

What are the lessons from the Tomlin debacle?

AFCB's transfer history has been mixed in recent seasons. While Eddie Howe returned to the club in 2012 with a new squad fairly freshly assembled, by Paul Groves and Shaun Brooks, it has been piecemeal additions to the squad since then with some excellent signatures like Callum Wilson, Josh King, Ryan Fraser, Adam Smith and Max Gradel, but also some less successful additions like Tokelo Rantie, Juan Iturbe and yes Lee Tomlin.
Lee had high hopes when he joined AFCB of being a top Premier League player.
The Tomlin signing should have been a reasonably safe squad signing. He played extremely well in 2014-15 for Middlesbrough and was instrumental in that sides fourth round FA Cup win against the stellar stars of Man City. But as soon as he signed for AFCB it was an up hill battle for him to recover his fitness and form, while it looked even harder for him to find a real bond with the team. His lack of games was ultimately unsettling for him and then his frustration came out.
Lee Tomlin is now set to join Bristol City if he agrees terms.
But what can AFCB take from the experience of Lee Tomlin's period at the club. It is easy to say very little, but picking players with the desire and ability to take on some of the feelings that AFCB is no ordinary club is not simple to get across to players that have come from bigger clubs. It is a warning that could well repeat itself more often in the future as AFCB are now in the market for signing players from Europe's elite, and even further afield. The pillars that are important to Eddie Howe and Jason Tindall, which are the roots of AFCB, have to be bought into if a player is going to succeed at Bournemouth. It has been a feature of the side that there are no real stars. No one gets above their station or has a right to feel that they are more important than anyone else in the team, and that is really some of the defining elements that have given AFCB that feeling of togetherness. Moreover, that success is better when it is experienced by everyone as a group.

There will be more Lee Tomlins and I only hope that fans recognise that there are no guarantees that everyone is a good fit for their club no matter how good a player they may be. Hopefully Bristol City is a better fit for Lee. 

Not sure who AFCB should sign this summer? Have a go at making your own player - see side bar for Qzzr player maker, then tweet or Facebook your created player.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Do yourself a favour Eddie, don't even think about doing the England job

I don't ask Eddie Howe to turn down the England job because I am an AFC Bournemouth fan. I ask him not to do it because all he will face is humiliation. This England set up is wrong from the base up and if the players are not capable of playing in tournaments because they can't perform under pressure, then he has lost before they even kick a ball.

There are other reasons for Howe not taking the job as well if he were to be offered it. He is not experienced enough yet. He has only just dipped his feet in Premier League football and he is learning against some of the best managers in the world. Why would you take a young manager out of that environment and put him in an England jacket where he is asked to do a job for the nation that prefers Premier League football to putting the national side first? It would ruin one of the best young managerial talents in the game and I just hope Eddie is not put in that position yet.
I love Eddie, but he is not yet ready for a job like England manager.
Let an experienced manager have the job.
The sad fact is there are very few candidates for the England manger's job. It is now a huge job after such an abject failure. The player's confidence will have been totally shattered and on the floor. This was a worse defeat than the World Cup two year's earlier as there was real hope and potential that this side would be good enough to have learnt from previous mistakes. They were humiliated by Iceland. Iceland who drew against Portugal and Hungary and beat Austria in the group stages, but they demolished England in the last 16. Who on earth wants the job of picking the players up after that? 

It needs to be a manager that not only has pride and can put an arm round the players, they have to have to have won things and have an understanding of the game that reveals why England teams keep failing at international tournaments. The players simply don't turn up. This is a failed project that keeps reoccurring. I don't want to see a good man like Eddie Howe go anywhere near it.

Euro 2016 - England thrown out of the Euros

Monday, 27 June 2016

Ritchie to Newcastle - dream on Benitez!

With news that Andros Townsend might leave Newcastle Utd, the Toons are ready to fight with West Ham Utd over the signature of Matt Ritchie as announced in the Sun. I don't buy the gossip that Ritchie has been offered to Newcastle. Since when did AFCB start offering its top players to be sold? Yet, Ritchie has already been the subject of a bid from the Hammers along with Callum Wilson and the future of the Sottish international is probably under more doubt than it has been for some time.

We have already seen Tommy Elphick be prepared to drop down a division to the Championship with Aston Villa, but even if Newcastle is an equally massive club in that division, I find it hard to see the advantage of Matt Ritchie being enticed there if he wants to keep his international aspirations in tact. Even a loan move would seem a backwards step. Benitez would have to throw a staggering amount at AFCB to take the player down to the Championship. The real challenge for his services comes from the Olympic stadium where Slaven Bilic is building a side to play in the Europa league. The Hammers have the attraction of a new stadium, a young manager, an exciting squad and European football as well as being a side that is challenging for a place in the top six of the Premier League again next season.
Rafa Benitez had better have a super big cheque book if he is chasing after Matt Ritchie. 
West Ham are ambitious and if Matt Ritchie also has ambition it will be no surprise to hear that he would like to talk to the Hammers. That is the understanding of West Ham who are considering a second bid as they believe the player would be interested in a move. The Hammers also know that Man Utd had scouts down watching Matt in the last few months, although with a change in manager at Old Trafford there has been no signs of further interest from there in the player.

The noise on the transfer rumour market simply won't go away when it comes to Matt Ritchie and while he only signed a new 3.5 year contract last January to ward off interest, it seems that there will be further pressure put on AFCB to part with their winger.

Euro 2016 - Will the real England turn up?