Connect in the back of the net

Every season the business conducted by teams in the summer transfer window creates perceived winners and losers, Everton are a team that are currently receiving plaudits for their early deals this summer, splashing the cash on; Davy Klaassen, Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Henri Onyekuru and Sandro Ramirez to the tune of an initial £83,000,000 – I guess they finally found the Arteta Money.

However, another team that deserve to be included in this conversation is Bournemouth who have experienced early success this window, The Cherries having announced veteran goal-machine Jermain Defoe, Bosnian international Asmir Begovic and Dutch wonderkid Nathan Ake all before July 1st.

 

Impressive signings

At face value all three transfers are impressive for a club trying to shake off the ‘plucky little Bournemouth’ tag and establish themselves as a solid top flight outfit, all of the trio undeniably improve the squad at the Vitality Stadium.

However, when you consider that all three signings have previously plied their trade for the club it becomes clear the recruitment department at Bournemouth have pulled off something special here.

Let us first look at Asmir Begovic, having cost The Cherries just shy of £10,000,000, Begovic will add vital experience to the squad, this is a player that along with his Premier League winners medal has 52 Premier League clean sheets to his name, numerous Champions League appearances and will provide greater depth between the sticks.

Chances are Begovic will be first choice keeper, leaving Artur Boruc as backup and deeming Adam Federici surplus to requirements, you would assume.

Boruc himself is vastly experienced, he actually has more Premier League clean sheets (65) and more Champions League appearances (22) to his name than Begovic and will provide ample competition for the Bosnian ‘keeper.

Last term, Begovic found it hard to make Chelsea’s starting eleven, making only 8 appearances for the Blues, 6 of which were in cup competitions but, with Thibaut Courtois for competition any goalkeeper would find it hard to get starts.

As aforementioned, Begovic has played for Bournemouth before, making 8 appearances for the club during a loan spell in 2007, interestingly the same year current manager Eddie Howe retired due to injury and began working as part of Bournemouth’s coaching staff.

 

The transitional deal

Moving on now to a transfer that represents a real transition for Bournemouth, the addition of Nathan Ake, arriving from Chelsea for a club record fee of £19,380,000.

Having spent the first half of last season on loan at the Vitality Stadium, this is a player Bournemouth fans will know fairly well, making 12 appearances and scoring 3 goals for The Cherries last term before being recalled to Stamford Bridge where he went on to make just 2 first team appearances in the second half of the 2016-’17 season.

It was rumoured that Bournemouth attempted to sign Ake during the January transfer window but a deal couldn’t be agreed upon, but splashing close to £20,000,000 on him this summer represents a real statement of intent from a club set to partake in only their third Premier League campaign.

Ake himself stating “It’s an exciting challenge. Chelsea is a great club and I learned so much there but this is a new step and the right place for me to develop even more.”

 

Bargain masterstroke

Bournemouth’s third and final signing of this transfer window thus far comes in the shape of Jermain Defoe, due to a contract clause stating that if Sunderland were to be relegated Defoe could leave the club on a free, The Cherries were able to sign the veteran forward for absolutely nothing.

This is a player that has scored 15 goals in the two previous Premier League campaigns in a woeful Sunderland side, Defoe’s 15 goals last season represented 52% of Sunderland’s total goals last term (29). The 34-year-old has signed a three-year deal with the club and stated on his arrival that “the one thing I can guarantee is goals.”

Recently back involved with the England squad, Defoe will be keen cement his place in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the 2018 World Cup and will surely be feeling confident of keeping up his current goal scoring record in a much more creative team.

Another noteworthy point here is that last term’s top goal scorer Joshua King could benefit hugely from training and playing with Jermain Defoe, last season King grabbed 16 goals, more than Defoe I hasten to add, playing alongside such goal-scoring experience can only aid King’s development.

Defoe first played for the Cherries during a successful loan spell in 2000-’01, scoring 19 goals in 28 games, a record he would be pleased to match this time around.

 

Their Cherries’ connection is important

All three additions represent good business for Bournemouth, however, it is essential to not underestimate how important signing players with a previous connection to the club can be, all three signings are likely to be in the starting eleven, this means these additions will inevitably shake up the first-team hierarchy and players will lose their spot in the team.

However, due to his long affiliation with the club manager Eddie Howe will be aware of his teams’ temperament and attitude and how the new signings, who he has previously worked with, will fit in and add to that dynamic.

On joining, all three players have stated how happy they are to be returning to Bournemouth and that they are looking forward to working with Eddie Howe and rising to the new challenge they now face.

 

Early signs are promising

Football isn’t played on paper, the real dissection of this Bournemouth team will start when they turn out against West Brom on the 12th August, but early signs suggest it is an exciting time to be a fan of AFC Bournemouth.

 

Written by Joe Hinchliffe 

Follow Joe on Twitter @JoeHinchy93

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