Assessing areas Bournemouth need to improve and recommending three players the Cherries should sign this January Transfer Window…
Bournemouth has been impressive since re-joining the Championship, and goal difference would suggest the Cherries are cruising at the top of the table. They boast the third-best defensive record as well as the third-best offensive output. This type of productivity is why the South Coast side are favourites to get promoted. But they are hardly in a secure spot; currently third, but only six points clear of ninth place.
WHAT ARE THE ISSUES?
Unfortunately, Bournemouth lack that intangible quality needed for champions, better known as a killer instinct. For the majority of this season, Bournemouth haven’t been able to put games to bed – five of Bournemouth’s eleven wins have only been by a one-goal margin. The Cherries have also recorded the third-most draws in the league – three coming from winning positions and another three goalless. This once again highlights Bournemouth’s inability to see games out. On paper, Bournemouth’s 37 goals are impressive, but their 45 expected goals (a metric which assesses every chance, essentially answering the question of whether a player should score from certain opportunities) would suggest the Cherries have squandered multiple chances.
The issue with Bournemouth lies up front… Yes, Dominic Solanke has massively improved, he’s the fourth-top scorer in the league with nine goals this season, but things aren’t as bright as they seem. Solanke leads the league in big chances missed (12), meaning he has been wasteful with chances. Unlike other high-performing Championship strikers, Solanke is only responsible for 25% of Bournemouth’s goals. Compare that to Ivan Toney, who contributes towards 45% of Brentford’s goals, and you can certainly argue that Solanke is underperforming.
WHAT DOES BOURNEMOUTH NEED FROM THE TRANSFER WINDOW?
From this month’s Transfer Window, the introduction of another striker wouldn’t go amiss. Josh King’s contract expires in six months, and unless Bournemouth earn promotion, it is unlikely he will re-sign. Signing a striker will clearly improve the side: either by getting the best out of Dominic Solanke or adding a better striker to the starting 11. Even acquiring a serviceable substitute would be good… At the moment, Sam Surridge is below the standard of a promotion-contending Championship side. Finding a striker who could complement Solanke’s style of play would also be beneficial. At times, Jason Tindall has opted to play two men up top, so a suitable strike partner shouldn’t be ruled out.
Below are some of my recommendations for the January 2021 Transfer Window.
Dwight Gayle, 30, was linked with a move to Bournemouth back in the summer, but nothing materialised. Fortunately for Bournemouth, Gayle and Newcastle are both open to offers as the Englishman has only played 64 minutes for them this season. Gayle currently serves as an understudy to former Bournemouth striker, Callum Wilson, but he would be perfect for the Cherries. The 30-year-old is familiar with the Championship, scoring 24 goals in 33 games back in the 2018/19 season. He is also consistent, as the season prior to that he scored 23 in 26 matches.
Gayle terrorises defences with his pace. He can run beyond defenders to collect through-balls, or he can provide an option for a Steve Cook long-ball. He will impose the same threat Wilson did when he played at the Vitality. A style of play the Cherries faithful adored. Gayle is a prototypical poacher. He prospers in the box with one-touch tap-ins, composed one-on-one finishes and, despite only being 5’7’’, he has scored a handful of headers. Gayle is out of contract in the summer so, Newcastle will likely accept a cut fee (sub-£3 million) before losing him for free.
Junker is a lesser-known name to the casual fan. But in Scandinavia, he’s a star striker, and has started to garner some serious attention from the football community. The great Dane plies his trade in Norway for FK Bodø/Glimt, where he has certified himself as a prolific finisher (scoring 27 goals in 25 games last season). Junker has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. This is solely due to his movement. He has the awareness to find space, the instinctiveness to react first, and explosiveness to pounce on loose balls.
However, Junker is playing at a lower level than the Championship, so the stats are to be taken with a pinch of salt… In saying that, however, Watford have recently signed Junker’s teammate, Philip Zinckernagel. Watford are clearly confident that the upper echelon of talent in the Norwegian league can transition smoothly into the English second tier. So why shouldn’t Bournemouth be too? According to TransferMarkt, Junker is valued at £1.8million which should be well within Bournemouth’s budget.
Last on the list is Jean-Pierre Nsame from the Swiss side BSC Young Boys. Another unknown entity for casual fans. Nsame is a 6’2’’ powerhouse from Cameroon, possessing the physical attributes to dominate defenders. He’s a player who doesn’t need many chances to score. Last season, Nsame netted 32 goals in 30 Super League starts, converting 71% of his shots on target. All 32 goals came from inside the box, so needless to say he’s prolific inside 18 yards…
This is perfect for Bournemouth as they rank amongst the top five for touches in the opposition box. Nsame capitalises on low-driven crosses, cut-backs and through-balls, making him the dream frontman for David Brooks. He’s clinical with both feet too (18 right-footed goals and 11 left-footed goals). However, the Young Boys striker will be the most expensive, currently valued at £6.3 million by TransferMarkt. So, he is probably an unlikely acquisition, especially due to the restricted club finances during this pandemic. But it’s always good to dream.
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