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AFC Bournemouth and Eddie Howe haven’t been afraid to splash the cash over the last few seasons. And, staying in the Premier League has given us an even bigger cash pot to play with but how much has been spent over the last few seasons? Here we take a closer look at the price of the current squad
Jack Wilshire’s loan move to AFC Bournemouth was reported to cost £2m, not a big deal in the current financial football climate. But, there is no way we could afford to buy a player of his calibre and pay his wages on a permanent basis. According to www.transfermarkt.co.uk he is currently worth £20m and has been worth as much as £28m. Add in his wages and you have a player that AFC Bournemouth simply cannot indulge in.
But, the loan market is a totally different landscape and £2m for a player of Wilshire’s potential for a single season is an absolute bargain (if he stays fit of course). Speculate that the average length of a contract is three years, that means we have got Jack Wilshire for a mere £6m, the same price as Lewis Cook and less than Gradel, Grabban and Afobe. We know Wilshire won’t be signing for three seasons (or will he?) and if he ever did it seems unlikely, if he was back to his best, we would get him for £6m. Let’s just enjoy him while we have him and see what the season brings.
While Wilshire is the obvious marquee signing, more money has been spent elsewhere in strengthening the squad. In preparation for this season Howe has brought in Marc Wilson, Brad Smith, Nathan Ake, Jordon Ibe, Lewis Cook, Lys Mousset, Emerson Hyndman and Rhoys Wiggins (not sure he counts) for a combined total of around £32m. Looking back to the same scenario last season Eddie Howe splashed the cash on Lewis Grabban, Benik Afobe, Glenn Murray, Maxi Gradel, Josh King and Tyrone Mings for a combined total of around £37m. That’s a combined total of around £69m (£71m with Wilshire). First we can’t believe little old Bournemouth has spent that much. Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think that even a couple of million was on the cards back in 2010.
Can’t get in the team?
After having a little lie down at how much has been spent we thought who has Eddie Howe bought and who’s in the first team. Our graphic above demonstrates exactly how many of the new signings are in the first XI? Recording signing Jordon Ibe, star loanee Jack Wilshire (even though he has yet to make a first team league appearance it’s almost inevitable he will) and striking stalwart Josh King. The other 12 signings are either on the bench or currently playing in the reserves. Admittedly, injuries played a major part in restricting Mings and Gradel appearances but the others have struggled to make the first XI on a regular basis if at all. Sometimes a signing simply doesn’t work out – Glenn Murray, but others you simply wonder why – Grabban £7m, Wiggins £2.50. Others are obviously for the future – Hyndman, Mousset – and others are there as backup – Afobe, Cook, Smith and co (someone has to sit on the bench). But all are still struggling to force out the old favourites and make a place their own.
Amazingly, the first XI is still very much the team that got us promoted from the Championship. Boruc, Cook, Francis, Smith, Daniels, Surman, Arter, Fraser and Wilson were all in the team that lined up against Crystal Palace. That’s nine players from the old, only two new? boys managed to get in the first XI against Palace, King and Ibe. So how much did that team cost? The princely sum of around £20m (cheap for a Premier League team). Take out record signing Jordon Ibe and replace with Marc Pugh and we have a team that cost around £5m. A whole team that cost less than Lewis Grabban, and that’s with two strikers who cost £3.5m.
Building for the future?
So, what does this say about Eddie Howe’s transfer policy? Is he Lee Bradbury in disguise? Plenty of money to spend but can’t get a player who can break into the team (just think £800,000 for Matt Tubbs, but he did sign Francis for free). Does it mean he doesn’t have a clue what he is doing. Of course it doesn’t (does it :-), he is looking to the future of AFC Bournemouth. He knows we can’t spend £20m every time he needs a new signing. He needs to look beyond the obvious and search far and wide to get a player that fits into the AFC Bournemouth ethos.
So, while the old guard can still cut it in the Premier League it looks like the big money (that’s anyone over a £1m) signings are simply going to have to wait their turn.