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Bournemouth exceeded expectations under Eddie Howe, finishing at an impressive 9th place after flirting with relegation for some time, enduring a tough period post 2017, having had to wait until mid-March to get their first win of the year. However, it finished smoothly enough, with the Cherries achieving their highest ever position in the Premier League, and winning 4 points more than they did in the 2015/16 season.
The defence was an issue for Howe’s men, with an ageing defence of Charlie Daniels and Simon Francis, and goalkeeper Artur Boruc being good in patches, swaying from unbeatable to making unforgivable errors. Howe has made a shrewd signing in getting Asmir Begovic from Chelsea to address that issue. Another potentially smart signing is getting Jermaine Defoe from the relegated Sunderland, to help take the burden off last season’s top scorer Joshua King, who scored an impressive 18 goals across all competitions. Howe would need a few more signings to ensure his troops can maintain their top half finish and here are a couple of them.
The 24-year-old Middlesbrough defender is a rather underrated player. Gibson was impressive for a Middlesbrough team whose defence was shambolic. As hard as it is to believe, his quality was there to be seen despite a poor defensive performance all season from Boro. Gibson has attracted interest from the likes of Southampton, who are eyeing him as a replacement for Virgil van Dijk should he leave the Saints this summer. It would be a brilliant piece of business by Bournemouth if they manage to snatch him before other clubs start expressing their interests as well.
The former Barcelona man and Ben Gibson’s Middlesbrough teammate is someone who Howe should look to buy. Jordan Ibe was bought for an astonishing amount of money and has been a total waste. But Traore has much more in his locker and under Howe, he could get the direction he needs to step it up to the next level. Blessed with immense pace and power, a ferocious shot and supreme dribbling ability, the young speedster often takes the wrong decisions, holding on to the ball for too long or making the wrong pass, which kept him out of the first team at Boro.
However, should his decision making be sorted out, he would be a brilliant player. Matt Ritchie was supposed to be replaced by Ibe but that’s been a failure so far. So Adama could be a shrewd signing, and one that shouldn’t hurt the Cherries financially since they can get a cut price deal due to Boro’s relegation.