Jermain Defoe
Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe has already undergone a medical at Bournemouth Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Bournemouth's top-half finish was one of the most underrated storylines of the last Premier League season.

The Cherries pipped West Bromwich Albion and West Ham United to ninth courtesy of a final day draw at Leicester City as manager Eddie Howe labelled the 2016-17 campaign as one of the greatest in the club's history.

With that late assault on the top 10 an unexpected boon, Bournemouth must ward off interest in their top players and look for reinforcements in order to consolidate or - at a squeak - perhaps make an ambitious charge on those European qualification spots.

Howe has stressed the need for a level-headed financial approach at a club that was almost liquidated nine years ago. He will be wary of being saddled with any more big-money flops after last summer's record £15m ($19m) capture of Jordon Ibe failed to bear fruit.

Business so far

Bournemouth have already made one key addition to their squad over recent weeks, moving fast to wrap up the £10m signing of January target Asmir Begovic from Chelsea. The Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper will serve as an overdue upgrade on 37-year-old Artur Boruc and injured deputy Adam Federici.

Asmir Begovic
Asmir Begovic is Bournemouth's first signing of the summer BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Another former loanee, Jermain Defoe, is also expected to return after responding to speculation by admitting that he has undergone a medical at the club. The England veteran, who scored in 10 consecutive games for Bournemouth as a fresh-faced teenager playing alongside Howe in 2000-01, looks set to join in July on a three-year deal after exercising his release clause at relegated Sunderland.

What they need

Bournemouth shipped a hefty 67 goals in 38 league games last season - only Swansea City, Watford, Hull City and Sunderland conceded more. With a new goalkeeper already secured and a proven striker on the way, defensive strengthening should now be a priority. Howe is clearly eager to target experienced players.

Who could join

Alongside Defoe, another veteran who has been linked with a potential move to the Vitality Stadium is John Terry. The divisive centre-back has called time on his 22-year stint with Chelsea and the Evening Standard claim that frontrunners Bournemouth are willing to match his £100,000-a-week wage demands with the offer of a one-year deal that will include the option of a further 12 months.

Nathan Ake remains on the radar after his impressive loan stint was cut short by Antonio Conte in January. Other rumoured targets include Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, Dijon striker Lois Diony, Chelsea's Lewis Baker and QPR youngster Ryan Manning.

Jack Wilshere is highly unlikely to return from Arsenal, but Howe admits his temporary arrival last summer "changed the exposure of the club". He hopes the injury-plagued midfielder was "the first of a few players to help us reach a new level".

John Terry
John Terry is hunting a new challenge after 22 trophy-laden years at Chelsea Reuters

Who could leave

Bournemouth will do well to retain the services of Josh King, who has landed on the respective wishlists of Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and West Ham United after notching a superb 14 goals in his final 19 appearances last term.

A new four-year contract for Steve Cook has ended speculation over a possible switch to Everton, although former Spurs academy graduate Adam Smith has been earmarked as a potential successor to Kyle Walker in north London. Max Gradel, Lys Mousset and Lewis Grabban are among a selection of players who could depart in search of more regular first-team football.

What the manager has said

"We have to remember the club and where it has come from," Howe said. "It would break my heart to see this club fall financially and become a victim of our own success and end up spending too much money.

"We have been there before and we would desperately not want that to happen again. The coaching staff identify the players we want and it is up to the board to see if we have the finances to afford them. One of the challenges we have is to keep the wages in check. Parity in wages and the wage bill is only ever going to go one way in the Premier League and that is upwards."