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Could the return of Callum Wilson be the catalyst for an upturn in Bournemouth’s fortunes?

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Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s recent history has been as eventful as it has been impressive, and looking at their current Premier League status it is hard to articulate the position the club was in just ten years ago.

In 2008 the Cherries were placed into administration for the second time in little over ten years, starting the 2008-09 League Two season with a 17-point deduction and a looming transfer embargo.

Somewhat miraculously they managed to overturn this deficit, securing their Football League status in their final home match of the season against Grimsby, and this sparked the beginning of an unprecedented rejuvenation in English football as Bournemouth gained promotion after promotion.

With Eddie Howe at the helm the Cherries managed to navigate their way through the Football League ladder before, in May 2015, they sealed their redemption from the jaws of football’s abyss with the most unlikely promotion to the top-flight, signalling a dramatic turnaround from their woes of 2008.

Their impressive revival showed little signs of slowing down in England’s top division, finishing 16th in their first top-flight season before admirably working their way into the top-half last time out.

But, for the first time in a fair few years, the Cherries are currently facing a patch of adversity after their less than pleasing opening to the new Premier League season, struggling at the wrong end of the table.

Howe’s side have claimed just one victory in their opening seven matches – coming against newly-promoted Brighton – and as such they sit second bottom of the league, only ahead of Crystal Palace.

Despite making a number of high pedigree signings over the summer, bringing in Chelsea duo Asmir Begovic and Nathan Ake and adding prolific goal-scorer Jermain Defoe to their ranks, something hasn’t quite clicked into gear yet and Bournemouth could do with getting a run of wins on the board soon.

It is perhaps the perfect timing, then, that Callum Wilson has been stepping up his recovery from a long-term knee injury across recent weeks and could be in-line for a return before the month is over.

The 25-year-old played a full 90 minutes on Monday night for Bournemouth’s Under-21 side – his second start in the space of seven days for the reserves – finding the back of the net twice in the 3-2 defeat at Cheltenham, and it seems he’s starting to build-up match fitness well ahead of a return.

The news on Wilson’s progress will no doubt come as a huge relief for boss Howe, with the striker not playing since January after suffering cruciate ligament damage for the second time in just 15 months.

Speaking to Sky Sports after Monday’s match, Wilson sounded confident about being ready for Premier League action in the upcoming weeks, insisting he is ‘ready to go’. He said:

“I’m feeling fine, the knee feels strong and I feel ready to go. I’m going to carry on working hard in training and waiting for my chance.

“It’s always good to score as it builds confidence and since the injury it’s good to get back on the scoresheet.

“I was never in doubt over my abilities and I feel I’m striking the ball probably better than I was before to be honest. Two goals, both different goals today, and now I’m looking forward to scoring these goals in the first team.”

Before Joshua King’s arrival on the big stage towards the end of last season it’s easy to forget that it was Wilson who was Bournemouth’s main man, scoring six times in 17 starts prior to his latest injury scare.

He proved to be the difference on a number of occasions in tight games, single-handedly earning his side points with goals against West Brom, Watford, Liverpool and Arsenal, and his presence has been missed.

Talking to the Bournemouth Echo earlier this month, captain Simon Francis has tipped his teammate to be an instant hit when he does return, claiming he is looking strong since returning to first-team training.

“Callum has come back stronger and is feeling more positive than ever.

“From what I’ve seen, he can definitely get back to his best. He’s hitting or even breaking his maximum speed which he’s had for the past few years, he’s looking stronger in the gym and his ball work seems great.

“His return is massive for our team spirit and morale. He wanted to be involved against Leicester City and he said to me, ‘I might go and see the manager’, and I said, ‘just calm down a bit, get a few training games in first’. He’s chomping at the bit to get back in and, hopefully, he will soon.”

It will be music to the ears of Bournemouth supporters as they look to find a solution to their goal drought this year, with four goals in seven games accurately representing their struggles until now.

King has failed to continue the momentum from the end of last year that saw him find the net 10 times in the final 12 league matches, whilst Defoe is yet to open his account in his second spell down at the Vitality, and the door is now wide open for Wilson to come in and add some life to his team.

There has been a lack of sharpness and cutting edge in their play in the final third, carving out an average of just five chances per match – the third worst record in the Premier League – and Wilson could offer a fresh impetus inside opposition territory.

His natural ability to finish around the 18-yard box is what Bournemouth are crying out for, and Howe will hope that he can also bring the best form out of King once again as competition for starting roles hots up.

However, whilst his pedigree in front of goals speaks for itself since his Coventry City days, the impact he is likely to have on the dressing room – and on the home support at the Vitality Stadium – could provide a much-needed lift in spirits and serve to kick-start Bournemouth’s underwhelming opening.

With the likes of Stoke City, Newcastle United, Huddersfield Town, Swansea City, Burnley, Southampton and Crystal Palace all coming up across Bournemouth’s next nine matches it’s arguably the perfect time for Wilson to come back into the first-team fold, and he could easily return with a bang.

The above encounters represent a real possibility of earning 21 points before the notoriously chaotic festive period, and anything close to maximum points would leave the Cherries in a comfortable spot.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

Bournemouth

West Ham should bring Jermain Defoe back to East London

The 35-year-old made just 11 appearances in the league this season.

Josh Kerr

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Jermain Defoe
Photo: Getty Images

Despite a truly disappointing and underwhelming season for West Ham, the club managed to restore some pride when they finished the season with a 3-1 win over Everton at the London Stadium.

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.

(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images for Premier League)

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.

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Bournemouth

Wolves must ensure Benik Afobe stays at Molineux next season

Josh Kerr

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Afobe
Photo: Getty Images

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.

The Bournemouth Echo have also reported that Wolves will get first choice as to whether they sign the £12 million-rated striker on a permanent deal.

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.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

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.

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Bournemouth

Can Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe become Everton’s next ‘David Moyes’?

Eddie Howe could follow in the footsteps of former Toffees boss David Moyes.

Max Cohen

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Eddie Howe
Photo: Getty Images

On Wednesday night, Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side were unlucky to fall to a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United, as the Premier League 11th ranked club gave the Red Devils a torrid time.

The remarkable success of the young English manager at Dean Court bears an uncanny resemblance to the career path of David Moyes. Just like Moyes, Howe would be a perfect fit at Goodison Park.

In 1998, Moyes began his managerial career at the tender age of 34 at Preston North End, who were then struggling at the foot of the third division of English football. The Scot proceeded to engineer a fantastic turnaround at the club, avoiding relegation in his first season and achieving promotion just two years later.

Moyes brought Preston within inches of promotion to the Premier League the very next season, but the Lilywhites were defeated in the play-off final by Bolton.

Everton v West Ham United - Premier League

(Photo by Paul Thomas/Getty Images)

In 2002, the Merseyside club came knocking, signing Moyes in March with the club in the relegation dogfight. The Glaswegian kept the Toffees up that season, and the rest is history.

11 years at Goodison Park brought unprecedented success, with Champions League qualification, a string of top-seven finishes, and even finishing above dreaded rivals Liverpool on occasion.

Just like Moyes, Eddie Howe started his career in coaching in his early thirties, and has enjoyed immense success in lifting a lower-league club up the English league system.

Howe took over at Bournemouth when he was 31, steering them clear of the League 2 relegation places in 2009, gaining promotion to League 1 in 2010, going up to the Championship in 2014, and reaching the Premier League in 2015.

If anything, Howe has experienced more success than Moyes before joining Everton, as his Bournemouth side have tremendously overachieved in the top flight and look set to secure their Premier League status for the third consecutive year.

Everton would do well to acquire the services of the youthful English manager in the summer, as his arrival just might spark a similar revival to that of David Moyes.

With his incredible knack of getting the best out of his players, Howe would revitalise the Toffees and breath fresh life into a directionless club; just like the Scot did 16 years ago.

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