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If Lewis Grabban moves to pastures new who will fill his boots?
Good strikers are a rare breed and they are two ways to getting a good one. Find a rough diamond and develop, or simply buy one. Neither option is a guarantee to success, but Eddie Howe has taken both options with varying degrees of success. Money is the key player in both decisions and currently AFC Bournemouth have a rich Russian to fund the search for a striker. There are some good options out there. What about Callum Wilson? Adam LeFonfre? Billy Sharp? Nathan Delfouneso? We hear Samuel E’oto is available, but were not sure that even Max Denim could afford his wages.
But, do we really need to look farther than the club itself? We have a striker who undoubtedly has the skills, pace and finishing that we need to push for the play-offs. You know who were are talking about – Tokelo Rantie.
We can hear the groans already, but you don’t pay £2m for a striker who has the pedigree of Chukki Eribenne (sorry Chukki – we still love you but you didn’t score many goals). There is no doubt that Tokelo has struggled to adjust to life in the Championship. He moved directly from Sweden, so he may well have struggled to adjust to life in England.
He hasn’t proved to be the goal-scoring sensation many were hoping for, at least in terms of numbers, but he has undoubtedly scored the spectacular. The few goals he has scored show that he has the skills, pace and finishing we are looking for (most of the time). He simply needs to score more regularly. But, if you are going to berate him for his finishing think back a bit to how many chances Lewis Grabban missed.
Many strikers making the move from abroad struggle in their first season in England. And, remember Rantie didn’t join until the end of August with the season well underway. These are not excuses but reasons why Rantie may not have exploded onto the scene as expected. And perhaps, expectations were a little misplaced. He scored 12 goals in 36 performances for Malmo and has scored 4 goals in 17 appearances for South Africa. What were AFC Bournemouth fans expecting?
Remember when Rantie got into the team. What style of football were we playing. If we remember rightly it was crosses into the box, crosses into the box and more crosses into the box. What did we need a tall striker who could head the ball. He came later. Our style of play simply did not play to the strengths of a small, fast striker. Again this is not an excuse but a reason why. Play to his strengths and surely he will score more goals.
With one season behind him Tokelo Rantie will have adjusted to life in England and he will be looking forward to a full pre-season with his team-mates. Will this make a difference? We at TFTSE Towers believe the true Tokelo Rantie has yet to have been seen. The Championship 2014/15 is when he will reveal his true colours and when he does last season will soon be forgotten.