Bournemouth defied expectations last season when they avoided relegation straight back to the Championship. The minnows have certainly upsets the odds under manager Eddie Howe for two straight seasons now after gaining promotion from the second tier in 2015-16 when few expected them to do so.
Despite a good run at the end of the season that saw them take 20 points from their final 12 games, losing only twice, the south coast club are one of the three favourites for relegation this season by the majority of bookmakers.
This despite the south coast making some astute signings already this summer. Goalkeeper Asmir Begović has joined from Chelsea for £10 million after previously impressing with Stoke City for five Premier League campaigns. In front of him Bournemouth have signed Nathan Aké from the champions as well after a brief loan spell last season that coincided with Bournemouth’s best defensive spell on the season. The young Englishman also chipped in with a couple of goals.
Jermain Defoe has also joined the club he had a loan spell at at the start of the millennium. The striker turns 35 in October and did have a quiet spell for the second half of last season but that was with Sunderland. Don’t be surprised to see the former-England international appear on the scoresheet a fair few times this campaign.
One player they have lost from last season is Jack Wilshere. The Arsenal midfielder spent the 2016-17 campaign on loan at the Vitality Stadium. The 25-year-old has since returned to the Emirates and been linked with a move away from the club this summer.
Bournemouth, who are officially sponsored by Mansion Group, owner of gaming brands like Casino.com, are one club linked with a move for the England international and if they could get both a deal agreed with the player and Arsenal then it would seem a smart move. The box-to-box midfielder was composed in the middle of the park looking after the ball in a midfield five. He can pull the strings in the opposition half whilst do some defensive work when out of possession also.
Whilst Wilshere’s never been a goalscorer (0 goals in 27 Premier League appearances last term) and only registered two assists, his link up play with the defence and attack is important in a side like Bournemouth who like to retain a lot of possession and don’t have the best of defences. No Bournemouth player actually had more than five assists last season anyway. Wilshere actually averaged more chances created than any of his teammates too.
With their three summer signings so far the Cherries are certainly showing their intent to beat off the bookmakers’ predictions of relegation. A few more additions may need to be added and if Jack Wilshere could be one of them it would certainly put a stronger message out to the rest of the field that they’re here to stay.