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Bournemouth

Cherries aim to go again after becoming part of the Premier League furniture

General preview 2019/20

EDDIE HOWE WANTS EVEN MORE FROM THIS TEAM

While a 14th-placed finish and 45 points in the Premier League last season had still been an impressive achievement, Cherries undoubtedly want more this time round.

Eddie Howe’s men had 20 points after 10 games last season and occupied the dizzy heights of sixth above Manchester United at the end of October.

But devastating injury problems coupled with a hard-hitting festive fixture list saw them eventually stutter over the line – missing out on equalling their club-record top-flight points haul by just one.

Some of those injuries – and some fresh concerns – are still clouding over Vitality Stadium heading into their Premier League curtain-raiser against Sheffield United.

But Howe looks to have brought in some exciting new additions to bolster his squad as part of some shrewd business ahead of the 2019/20 campaign.

Pre-season news

WILSON AND FRASER PICK UP WHERE THEY LEFT OFF AS SOLANKE FINALLY BREAKS HIS DUCK

AFC Wimbledon 2-3 Bournemouth

Wilson (2), Fraser.

Girona 2-1 Bournemouth

Fraser.

West Brom 0-0 Bournemouth

Brentford 1-3 Bournemouth

Solanke, Ibe, Surridge.

Bournemouth 3-4 Lazio

Lerma, Solanke, Stacey.

Bournemouth 3-0 Lyon

Wilson, Kilkenny, King.

transfer window

Four young signings fit the bill as Howe raids the Championship again

Cherries have once again bolstered their squad with four younger assets Howe believes he can make better, while offloading members of the set-up for impressive profits. Tyrone Mings showed his class while on loan at Aston Villa last season but with an offer of up to £26.5million on the table from Dean Smith’s side, it was always going to be tough for Cherries to keep him. Striker Lys Mousset’s departure to Sheffield United looks like great business. It just never really happened for the Frenchman at Vitality Stadium. Winger Connor Mahoney has also joined Millwall for £1million. Of course, keeping the likes of Nathan Ake and Callum Wilson is fantastic business.

Rating: 8/10

Rating: 8/10

Lloyd Kelly – Bristol City (£13million)

The talented full-back was snapped up from Ashton Gate as early as May before he went off to the European Under-21 Championship with England. Kelly looked assured in Cherries’ early pre-season contests before this week being rocked by sustaining an ankle ligament injury in training. He is set to miss the opening weeks of the season but, having also previously been linked with Liverpool, looks to be an exciting addition.

Rating: 7/10

Jack Stacey – Luton (£4million)

Stacey played a key role in the Hatters clinching promotion to the Championship by winning the League One title last season. The former Reading youngster still has to prove he can make it at the top level but looked lively in a role at right wing-back at Brentford on Saturday.

Rating: 8/10

Philip Billing – Huddersfield (£15million)

A powerhouse to go alongside Jefferson Lerma in the middle of Cherries’ midfield, Billing will be looking to hit the ground running at Cherries, having not featured in the top-flight for Huddersfield since March. He already has good experience at England’s elite level, with 43 Premier League games for the Terriers under his belt.

Rating: 9/10

Arnaut Danjuma – Club Brugge (£13.7million)

Danjuma looks like someone who could provide real x-factor for Cherries in wide areas having this week finalised his move to Vitality Stadium. The Dutch international showed his talent in the Champions League last season – rocketing a right-foot strike past Atletico Madrid keeper Jan Oblak for Brugge during the group stage.

Season predictions

TOP-HALF FINISH IS ACHIEVABLE FOR THIS SQUAD

Cherries’ squad looks set to compete well heading into their fifth season in the top flight - despite the likes of Lewis Cook, David Brooks, Lloyd Kelly, Simon Francis, Junior Stanislas, Dan Gosling and Charlie Daniels all set to miss the start of the season.

Once those players are back fit, manager Howe will face some tough selection dilemmas – especially in the midfield areas.

The club will no doubt want to eclipse the 46-point mark which saw them finish a record ninth in 2016-17 and, should the new recruits hit the ground running, I see no reason why they could not do it again.

Any further than that may be a step too far for now, but another ninth-placed finish is definitely achievable.