It’s a season of promise on the south coast after Bournemouth has done wonders in the transfer market both in terms of on-the-pitch acquisitions, as well as securing a highly-touted manager to take up the reins at Vitality Stadium.
The arrival of former Athletic Club defender Andoni Iraola as the new Cherries tactician in the wake of the club’s surprise decision to part ways with Gary O’Neil should be viewed as a net win for the club, despite the undervalued contributions made b yO’Neil to keep the club in the Premier League. Andoni’s record at Rayo Vallecano was a credible one, and attractive attacking football should now be on offer on a weekly basis.
To support Andoni, Bournemouth have aggressively approached the marker after spending a shade under £70m to reinforce the senior side, adding Hamid Junior Traoré on a full deal, while also bringing in Romain Faivre, Justin Kluivert, and Romanian international keeper Ionut Radu on loan.
But no other deal has been as impressive as the deal that saw Bournemouth snag highly-touted Hungarian international left-back Milos Kerkez from AZ Alkmaar. As one of the most gifted young attacking full-backs on the continent last season, Kerkez could bring a real x-factor to the side should he settle to life in England, and his debut on Saturday will no doubt be monitored accordingly.
The Cherries have been ravaged by potential fitness issues early doors coming into the new season as Iraola potentially has seven absentees from the senior side for their home clash with David Moyes’ West Ham.
Marcus Tavernier, Antoine Semenyo, Lloyd Kelly, and Ryan Fredericks are all guaranteed to be unfit for service on Saturday, while Adam Smith, Ryan Christian, and Dominic Solanke all face late assessments. Thankfully, Christian and Solanke should pass fit enough to feature in some capacity, with Solanke to be included in the XI if he himself is fit.
Newcomers Justin Kluivert, Romain Favire, and shot-stopper Ionut Radu are not in line to make their debuts for the club, making Iraola’s XI pretty straightforward here.