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Why keeping Eddie Howe is the key to unlocking Bournemouth’s full potential

The Boot Room

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There was a hint of surprise when Eddie Howe was named the LMA Manager of the Year last May. Not because Howe had not done a terrific job, but it tends to be a top flight manager to pick up the accolade. Many were touting Jose Mourinho for the award after the Portuguese boss led Chelsea to a Capital One Cup and Premier League double. Alan Pardew’s fine work of turning around Crystal Palace’s season and Ronald Koeman’s work at Southampton were also names that had been suggested in the media. But it was Bournemouth’s young manager and former player that led the Cherries to a Championship trophy and Premier League promotion that picked up the same award that the likes of Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have done in years gone by.

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Eddie Howe’s and Bournemouth’s relationship is a heart-warming one and one that many young footballers and football fans would dream of. Howe started his professional career at Bournemouth in the mid 1990’s and went on to make more than 250 appearances for the Cherries over three separate spells for the club. He then had some coaching roles with the club’s youth squads before being appointed as first team manager in January 2009. Howe worked wonders with Bournemouth, saving them from relegation despite a 17 point deficit. Howe led the club to promotion to League One before being appointed Burnley manager at the beginning of 2011. His tenure at Turf Moor lasted almost two years and he then returned to Dean Court in October 2012 as manager of Bournemouth. He picked up where he left off and by April 2013, the Cherries had achieved promotion to the Championship. Two years later and his achievement of getting Bournemouth promoted to the Premier League is one of English football’s best stories in recent years. But just how well is last year’s LMA Manager of the Year doing this year?

You only have to go back to October of last year when Howe signed a contract extension with the club to see that he’s doing a fantastic job. It was refreshing to see a newly promoted club have faith, patience and confidence in their manager and offer him a new contract. Too often managers of newly promoted clubs and teams struggling to fight off relegation get shown the door in our top flight. But Bournemouth fans can be happy knowing that whatever happens beyond the end of the season, one of the country’s most talented young managers is committed to the club and the club are committed to him.

Bournemouth currently sit in 16th place and you have to wonder where they’d be if they had their full strength side available. Howe and Bournemouth were ridiculously unfortunate to lose then-record signing Tyrone Mings, one of their marquee signings Max Gradel and young, talented goal scorer Callum Wilson to serious injuries so early on in the campaign. As well as that, their captain Tommy Elphick, who has been a key figure in their recent rise, has also missed the majority of the season so far. It would be quite easy for Howe to place blame for any shortcomings on the injuries to players who undoubtedly would have been key figures for them this season. However, Howe’s mentality has been mirrored in his side’s playing style – positive. Howe has stuck with the brand of football that has seen the Cherries rise from brink of the footballing abyss to the country’s top flight. Their commitment to their attacking style of football has been another refreshing element of Bournemouth’s debut Premier League season.

Howe’s side have picked up some impressive results over the course of the season so far. Their back-to-back victories against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and at home to Manchester United spring to mind. Howe claimed that the club has never and probably will never have a week as great as that one and he’s not wrong. The Cherries didn’t steal two undeserved wins. They thoroughly deserved both victories. They struck a fine balance between attack and defence in both games, and to a man, they were excellent. From the experienced Artur Boruc in goal through to Josh King up front, Howe’s side showed how powerful the spirit and passion of the underdog can be against the big money players of the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United.

If Howe can keep Bournemouth up then you wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a contender again for the LMA Manager of the Year at the end of this season, although you’d think it’d be a tough ask to beat Claudio Ranieri after his great work at Leicester this season. Howe has adapted effortlessly to the Premier League. His side don’t look out of place in the Premier League and have made the step up along with Howe. The recent rise of Bournemouth is a fantastic story and it doesn’t look like it’s going to end any time soon. The club are showing their ambition of staying in the league and pushing on with their recent transfer business. Highly rated young Argentine Juan Iturbe has swapped Roma for Bournemouth on loan until the end of the season with the potential of a permanent deal in the summer. Bournemouth also look poised to smash their transfer record again this season with the reported £10m transfer of Benik Afobe believed to be imminent.

The club are showing their ambition to stay in the country’s top flight and consolidate their position for years to come with a young manager with an infectious passion for the club, an attractive brand of football and some seemingly shrewd transfers. And you’d have to argue, as long as they can keep hold of Howe, their ambitions can certainly become a reality.

Featured image: All rights reserved by dan.westwell

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Bournemouth

Sheffield United may regret £10million deal taking David Brooks to Bournemouth

The Championship starlet is set to sign for Premier League Bournemouth.

Jake Jackman

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Brooks
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Bournemouth are set to sign David Brooks from Sheffield United in a deal worth more than £10 million, according to the Bournemouth Echo.

There haven’t been many Premier League signings announced since the beginning of the World Cup, but the Cherries have managed to make progress.

For those that aren’t familiar with the 20-year-old midfielder, he is regarded as one of the brightest talents in the Football League after establishing himself in Chris Wilder’s team.

The news of a deal being close have come out of nowhere, but there were links made between Bournemouth and Brooks earlier this summer.

Supporters can consider this a coup for their club, as the Welsh international had previously been rumoured to be a target for Tottenham by The Sun.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Although they didn’t act on that interest, it underlines how highly he is thought of within the game and bigger clubs will follow his progress with interest.

Brooks is at the early stage of his development and he could benefit massively from working with Eddie Howe. Until now, he has been mainly used as a substitute, but he has shown his class in the handful of starts he has been given.

The standout performance came against Sheffield Wednesday when he was started in a central role. The 20-year-old wasn’t overawed by the occasion and delivered a display of the highest quality.

One of the key reasons he has stood out as a big talent is his dribbling ability. Brooks is excellent at quickly manoeuvring the ball to beat an opposition player and then move into the space created.

His end product needs work and his decision making can be questionable, but there is a lot to work with for Bournemouth.

Last season, he contributed three goals and four assists in the Championship, with a goal involvement every 164 minutes.

Considering his bit-part squad role, that is an impressive return and Sheffield United fans were hoping that 2018/19 would be a breakout year for him at Bramall Lane.

However, it now looks like they won’t get a chance to see the young midfielder in a Blades shirt again.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Sheffield United are a team on the up and they will have ambitions of challenging for a top six finish during the coming campaign.

Brooks could have been a difference maker for them if given a regular starting role. There were positive signs last season and he looked ready to make the next step under Wilder.

The decision to sell him is an understandable one, as they will be receiving a club record fee. That said, the reported fee of £10 million plus add-ons is one that will disappoint some supporters.

His potential is huge and he could be worth more than double that in 12 months’ time. They could be cashing in too soon.

On the other hand, if they can use the eight-figure sum to bring in two or three quality second-tier players, they could quickly transform themselves into a promotion contender.

The fact that Brooks wasn’t a regular starter last season means that it isn’t a disastrous departure, but there was a huge opportunity to turn him into the star of this team and that is now gone.

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Bournemouth move may help to get Danny Ings’ career back on track

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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.

Football Whispers say that a deal could be in the pipeline for the former Burnley man to move to the south coast, though there is no indication of if it would be on loan or permanently.

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.

(during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Stoke City at Anfield on April 28, 2018 in Liverpool, England.

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.

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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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