Thursday, 1 June 2017

Will the predominantly English nature of the AFCB team last much longer?

There was a statistic on the BBC match preview for the Leicester City game against the Cherries that made me proud and at the same time a bit sad. It read, "11 English players have made 20 or more league appearances for Bournemouth this season. This last happened in the Premier League with Aston Villa in 2000-01." What is remarkable about AFCB not only staying in the Premier League for two seasons is not just that they've done it, but they have done it with many players that have come from league one and just as surprising with British players in the main.
Lewis Cook has impressed out in South Korea and will have
his eyes set on a starting place at AFCB in 2017/18. 
Just think though, 17 years since such an English team played 11 players for 20 or more games in the top tier. The fact that AFCB have done it in 2016/17 is a testament to the fact that English players can do it at this level if they are well trained. There is a proviso though. AFCB have brought a lot of players through the leagues with their promotion runs and they could not probably have been able to recruit the English talent as easily if they had been promoted with a handful of players from the British Isles. It will be interesting to see what Brighton and Huddersfield Town decide to do with their transfer policies.

Championship clubs ask for high prices when Premier League clubs come calling as we have seen with Tyrone Mings. Eddie Howe did well to also sign Lewis Cook from Leeds Utd and Benik Afobe from Wolves, but I believe it is getting harder to sign English players from the lower leagues. It's not only the fees, it's the competition from other Premier League sides such as Burnley, WBA and sometimes West Ham, who tend to sign the odd English player as will the newly promoted clubs. Another option is to sign players from the Premier League that are coming to the end of their careers, but even AFCB won't want to many of these players they want to continue building a youthful squad. 

One player from the continent that has been strongly linked with AFCB is Dijon's hot shot Lois Diony, but TalkSport are suggesting the Cherries would need a kitty of £13m to land him for next season.

The question is, if AFCB can't find the players from the Championship to sign can it make a step up to signing more continental players and will this weaken the character of the group? Stoke City and Leicester City have signed players from abroad in bigger numbers than AFCB and the mid-table sides have been doing that for a while. But that is playing a whole different transfer game where teams from the continent are also going to be looking for the best talent as well. 

While few English players go abroad to play, there is a focus for Spanish, German and Italian leagues to study feeder leagues like the Dutch league and Ligue 1 in France. AFCB have already looked at Juan Iturbe and Lys Mousset, but have not plundered the continent too highly yet. But I expect the trend to start increasing soon, which means even AFCB's make up will lose more of it's English DNA in the next few seasons.

In other news, Lewis Cook skippered England's U20s through to the quarter final in South Korea with a 2-1 win over Costa Rica. England's next match is on 5 June.

Cherry Chimes' June Newsletter is out today and brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month. You can also find out what's our season's rating is for Eddie Howe?

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