Bournemouth are ready to smash their transfer record with a £25 million offer for Leicester City winger Demarai Gray. That is according to The Sun, which says Cherries manager Eddie Howe wants to bring the England Under-21 international to the south coast this summer. Howe is a long-term admirer of Gray, who has failed to establish himself as a regular for the Foxes since joining from Birmingham City last year.
What would he bring?
Gray made 30 Premier League appearances for Leicester last season, but the majority of those were from the bench as Claudio Ranieri and his successor, Craig Shakespeare, preferred to use him as an impact substitute. The 21-year-old showed glimpses of his potential and is understood to want regular football. He would be more likely to get it at Bournemouth than Leicester, where currently he is playing second fiddle to Riyad Mahrez.
Gray fits the profile of a Howe signing. Bournemouth are not yet in a financial position to purchase and pay the wages of elite Premier League footballers, which is why the former Burnley boss opts for a different strategy. Gray is young, English and has room to improve. Howe is attracted by Gray’s blistering pace and ability to beat defenders. He is also excellent from dead-ball situations and has shown in the past that he has an eye for goal.
There would appear to be a vacancy for a winger at the Vitality Stadium, after Bournemouth allowed Max Gradel to join Ligue 1 club Toulouse on loan for the season. However, Howe does have Ryan Fraser, Marc Pugh and Jordon Ibe at his disposal, while Junior Stanislas is currently recovering from injury. Another wide man, Connor Mahoney, has signed from Blackburn Rovers in this window, with a view to the future. If anything, the Cherries look short in central midfield, where there has been a distinct lack of creativity, not on the wings.
The reported transfer fee would eclipse the £20 million that Bournemouth paid Chelsea for defender Nathan Ake earlier this summer. It is a staggering figure for a player who joined Leicester for just £3.7 million in January last year. The Cherries had previously been linked with Gray after he turned in a string of impressive performances for Birmingham in the Championship.
Gray is undoubtedly talented, but he seems massively overpriced. English footballers often come with a premium and that looks to be the case here. Leicester have no need to sell, but should Bournemouth make a formal bid of £25 million, they may find it too good to refuse. Any transfer may depend on the future of Mahrez, who has been continually linked with a move abroad. Shakespeare would surely not allow both to depart, particularly at this late stage of the window.
Bournemouth move may help to get Danny Ings’ career back on track
The past few seasons have been full of frustration for Liverpool centre-forward Danny Ings, with injury set-backs continually hampering his progress after derailing his Anfield career only months after it began. Now, it looks as though he may have a chance to revive it with a move to Bournemouth.
The 25-year-old has made only three starts in 2017/18 and even in a campaign where Liverpool were overloaded with fixtures thanks to a Champions League cup run, he barely featured and at times was below even youngster Dominic Solanke in the pecking order, casting an unfavourable forecast for his Anfield career.
That could make a season, or more, at Dean Court an appealing proposition. Ings has shown that even when he is struggling for fitness and game time, he is still an efficient finisher.
With pace and strength, he certainly fits into the tactical mould that Eddie Howe likes of his strikers, much like Callum Wilson, Josh King and Jermaine Defoe.
Given that there are reports from The Scottish Sun saying that Defoe may well be on his way out after a single season back at the club, and a disappointing one too, there could be a spot in the Cherries’ squad for a player like Ings to get the game time he needs.
Stagnation is a real risk for Ings career after such a promising few years at Burnley before moving to Liverpool and picking up two serious knee injuries, but if he can find form whilst with Bournemouth it could be his ticket back to the top of the game.
West Ham should bring Jermain Defoe back to East London
The 35-year-old made just 11 appearances in the league this season.
However, one result doesn’t shy away from a season of turmoil and rebellion from Hammers fans, as the club finished 13th with the toxic atmosphere in East London directed towards the owners.
The future is also uncertain for David Moyes but, if the Scotsman is to start thinking about potential transfers, the 55-year-old Scot should consider bringing former West Ham forward Jermain Defoe back to East London.
The 35-year-old hit 37 goals in 93 games for Sunderland before re-signing for Bournemouth on a free transfer last summer, a move that seemed a brilliant piece of business from the Cherries.
However, Defoe has been restricted to just 11 Premier League games this campaign, scoring just four goals. And, while the Englishman hasn’t hit the highs of last season, he is still a goalscoring threat to be reckoned with.
Despite Rangers being labelled the bookmaker’s favourites to sign the former Tottenham striker, according to Paddy Power, West Ham should definitely consider swooping for one of the Premier League’s ultimate poachers.
West Ham have struggled with their forward options this season with Javier Hernández becoming frustrated on the bench, whilst Andy Carroll has also failed to hit the mark having struggled with injuries.
Defoe scored 18 goals during his time at Upton Park, quickly becoming a fans favourite, so should the Hammers bring back one of their former club heroes?
Considering Bournemouth have the likes of Joshua King and Callum Wilson in their forward line, they may be interested in offers for the 132-time Premier League scorer.
West Ham struggled for attacking firepower this term, with Marko Arnautovic largely relied upon upfront. Therefore, reinforcements are likely to arrive at the London Stadium during the summer.
When a player like Jermain Defoe shows even a slight sign of being unhappy, in this case, due to a lack of game time, it should then become the club-in-need’s priority to swoop.
Wolves must ensure Benik Afobe stays at Molineux next season
Wolves have secured their promotion to the Premier League in emphatic style. Registering 99 points as champions is a fantastic achievement for the Midlands side.
However, there is still business that needs attending to before returning to the promise lands of England’s top division.
Wolves striker and Bournemouth loanee Benik Afobe’s future is still undecided and the Wanderers have to act fast if they are to make the deal permanent.
According to the Birmingham Live, there are terms of their loan agreement with Bournemouth that state the club have until May 31st to decide on whether they will make the deal permanent.
Despite not being a regular feature in the Championship all season, Afobe still boasts six league goals from nine appearances proving he could have more to offer next season.
Also, considering his experience in the Premier League, the 25-year-old would be a useful addition as they prepare for life in the top flight.
Afobe endured a successful first spell at the Molineux Stadium before his move to Bournemouth, reported by BBC Sport to be in the region of £10 million.
His initial two years at the club saw 23 goals in 48 appearances and the former England under-21’s star quickly became a fan favourite before leaving for the Cherries in 2016.
He rejoined Wolves in the January window, on loan, leaving the striker “crying in his car with happiness”, according to BBC Sport.
The 6ft striker has 63 Premier League appearances under his belt, and for £12 million it is surely worth the expenditure to have Afobe leading in the dressing room next season.
The move would be ideal for both parties as Afobe has failed to establish himself as Bournemouth’s first choice striker, falling behind the likes of Joshua King, Callum Wilson and Jermaine Defoe in Eddie Howe’s side.
Wolves supporters were delighted to see their former hero return home, and with a full season ahead of him, Afobe could be the man to help fire the goals that could keep the Midlands outfit in the division next season.
Fans react on Twitter to Sergej Milinkovic-Savic performance
Goncalo Guedes and Andre Gomes would make Wolves top-six contenders
Has Pontus Jansson pushed Victor Lindelof out of the Sweden team?
Andre Gomes should ignore Tottenham and join Wolves’ Portuguese revolution
Rectifying Patrick Bamford departure would be superb Nottingham Forest business
West Bromwich Albion17 hours ago
West Brom will hope Nacer Chadli continues to play World Cup role
Tottenham Hotspur18 hours ago
Tottenham have perfect chance to finally sign Moussa Dembele this summer
Everton9 hours ago
Everton round-up: Juanpe wanted, Schneiderlin exit route and Carvalho blow
Arsenal15 hours ago
Fans criticise Jack Wilshere omission after Jordan Henderson’s ‘toothless’ England performance
Huddersfield Town19 hours ago
Ramadan Sobhi still has everything to prove after joining Huddersfield Town
English Premier League17 hours ago
Newcastle United’s move for Swansea City’s Jordan Ayew makes sense
Bayer Leverkusen20 hours ago
After Felipe Anderson £35m valuation West Ham should turn attention to Julian Brandt
Aston Villa13 hours ago
Aston Villa fans react with joy as Carlos Sanchez is first man sent off at World Cup