With the beloved international break upon us it’s a good time to reflect on my club side’s fortunes and whether any changes need to be made - anything to distract us from watching the English national side, basically.
So with that in mind taking a look at the signings we made in the summer and how they’ve shaped up so far seems a relatively sound idea. I’ll even grade them on their performances (or non-performances) so far…
Jordan Ibe - 676 league minutes
I would say our record transfer has frustrated and amazed in equal measure, but that wouldn’t be fair - as he’s been far more of a headache than a wizard on the wing so far this campaign. He’s almost always more likely to lose the ball than beat his man or make a sensible pass, and he has left me tearing my hair out at times.
He’s clearly a confidence player, and his age (20) would certainly support that. Eddie Howe not having him on the pitch for much more than sixty minutes in each game pretty much proves there’s a lot of work to make Ibe a consistent performer too. This is a signing that hasn’t impressed me much yet, and I think it’s very much 50/50 (at best) whether he’ll be the player all AFC Bournemouth fans hope he’ll become.
Jack Wilshere - 594 league minutes
I can’t say I’ve been a huge fan of many people saying Jack Wilshere is bigger than my club, but one thing is for certain - he has a level of skill and finesse that I’ve not seen an AFC Bournemouth player possess over my many years supporting my side.
He’s clearly still working his way back to full fitness, and has struggled at times in games - but his class on the ball is constantly evident and he gives us a much needed creative drive in midfield. I think the squad have been given a lift by his signing too - there’s no doubt in my mind that the on-loan Arsenal man has been a factor in sparking Harry Arter’s fine recent form.
Lewis Cook - 81 league minutes and two cup appearances
A huge talent and one I tipped for greatness when he signed - but it’s not quite worked out for the former Leeds United man so far. Despite a promising and confident display in our opening day defeat to Manchester United, a persistent injury has not helped him - and the arrival of Jack Wilshere has flung him down the pecking order, with even rumours surfacing that he could be loaned back to Leeds.
I haven’t given up on Lewis though, and still think he’ll come good - even though we probably won’t see the best out of him until next season.
Nathan Aké - 13 league minutes and two cup appearances
One of the players that seems to be constantly on the fringes of the first eleven, it’s not clear what the on-loan (from Chelsea) utility man has to do ro be given a chance in the league. Looking strong and composed in his cup appearances, he’s able to play in defensive midfield and as left back - and he will surely have the opportunity to fill in for the misfiring Charlie Daniels in the latter position sooner rather than later. Surely.
Lys Mousset - 14 league minutes and two cup substitute appearances
Whenever you talk about Mousset with fellow AFC Bournemouth fans his amazing cameo against AC Milan - where he scored a stunner and looked a real live-wire - will inevitably get mentioned. Sadly he’s not had much of a chance to impress beyond that, and looked lost in his recent substitute appearance against Sunderland. Another one for the future - that conclusion is becoming a bit of a theme here…
Marc Wilson - Two cup appearances
Wilson complained while at Stoke City that manager Mark Hughes did no defensive training, and that has certainly shown in the defender’s cup appearances for us so far. Although he was solid enough against Morecambe (he even scored), he looked a huge liability against Preston North End - being uncertain on the ball and constantly misjudging clearances and headers.
He came off at half time, but whether that was due to an injury or his performance was unclear. I’d bet on the latter.
Brad Smith - Two cup appearances
Like Wilson, Smith seems like another player who doesn’t seem to improve our current options - and despite his young age really doesn’t look like offers much more than Charlie Daniels. And considering Daniels has come in for some criticism recently that’s not great.
He’s an attacking full back, but against Preston North End in the cup he made only one notable run forward - and didn’t look hugely solid defensively to make up for that. Liverpool fans found it amusing at how we spent so much on signing him, and I now I understand that. Hopefully he can prove me wrong.
Emerson Hyndman - Two substitute cup appearances
Probably the summer signing that gets forgotten by most AFC Bournemouth fans, Hyndman is the very definition of “one for the future.” In his small cameos so far this season he’s displayed a good range of passing but hasn’t really had enough time to really impress.