Bournemouth's summer transfer activity, while not vast, has been commendable. Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has joined from Premier League champions Chelsea for a fee of £10m, as has Nathan Ake, whose £20m return to the south coast broke the Cherries' transfer record.

The former Chelsea duo will improve Bournemouth's backline no end, while their attacking options have been supplemented and strengthened by the arrival of veteran Jermain Defoe, who arrived on a free transfer from Sunderland.

The former West Ham United and Tottenham hitman may be in the twilight of his career but seems to be enjoying an Indian summer, something he will be hoping to prolong during his second spell in Dorset.

The three new arrivals are rightly a source of encouragement for Bournemouth supporters, who will be glad to see that they have kept the bulk of the players who were so crucial to their ninth-placed finish last season.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is the only notable absentee from last season, but the injury-plagued England international's absence won't prove too detrimental to Eddie Howe who will hope England Under-20 captain Lewis Cook can fill the void and use his World Cup win with the young Lions as a springboard for his burgeoning career, after injuries halted his development last season.

Whispers over a move for Joshua King have not fully subsided, but Bournemouth look in great shape to further establish themselves in the Premier League as it stands.

Last season

Premier League: 9th

FA Cup: Third round

League Cup: Third round

Top scorer: Joshua King (16)

Manager - Eddie Howe

Looked upon by many as a future England manager, Howe has backed up the opinions of his many admirers at the Vitality Stadium. The work the 39-year-old has done during his two spells in charge of Bournemouth is nothing short of incredible, and he will surely be hoping to improve on their top-half finish and pull away from the gaggle of evenly matched sides that currently take pride of place in mid-table.

Bourenmouth's swashbuckling approach inevitably leaves opponents with the opportunity to get at their defence, which almost cost them dear during the midway point of last season, but Howe has gone some way to remedying those concerns already this summer. The former Burnley boss will look to improve on his side's showings in the domestic cups, too, after suffering chastening defeats to Preston North End and Millwall last season.

Key player - Joshua King

The penny seems to have finally dropped with King, who scored 16 of his 33 career goals last season. The Norwegian forward's goal-scoring exploits helped Bournemouth pull away from a relegation scrap and inevitably garnered interest from some of the bigger sides in the division.

Tottenham and Everton are both interested in the £15m-rated Manchester United academy product, who is not pushing for a move away from Dean Court, and it remains to seen if the aforementioned duo's interest intensifies.

It will be interesting to see how King's role changes with the arrival of Defoe, too. King ended up spearheading the attack last season after starting off on the wings or in a slightly more withdrawn role, and he may have to play a little further back in order to accommodate Defoe, who will certainly not be consigned to the substitutes' bench.


The Cherries may have finished ninth last season, but that feat is slightly tempered when taking into account the fact that only six points separated eighth and 17th.

Defensive solidity was required and has been delivered in the form of Ake and Begovic, and a couple of shrewd, calculated additions before the end of the transfer window will ensure that Bournemouth are vying for the top 10 rather than concentrating purely on survival.

Prediction - 11th

The Cherries might not achieve another top-half finish due to sides around them strengthening substantially, but Howe's side are more than equipped to stave off the lingering but dull threat of a relegation battle and fully establish themselves as part of the Premier League furniture.

Bournemouth celebrations
There was much to smile about at the Vitality Stadium last season Getty Images