The television money available to Premier League clubs is going to influence the league in many ways. The signings made by some of the mid-table clubs this summer suggests that the quality will continue to rise, which could increase the gap in ability between Premier League and Championship sides. Every side in the second tier dreams of promotion to allow them to have a piece of the rising financial rewards in the top flight, but once they get there, it is going to be increasingly harder to compete. Last season, QPR and Burnley were relegated straight back to the Championship and without an extraordinary run of results, Leicester would have joined them.
Bournemouth are a club who have had an unrivalled rise to the Premier League, beating the odds on a number of occasions to go from League 2 to the top flight in just six seasons. The only other side who Bournemouth can compare themselves to is Swansea City, who went on a similar journey from the edge of bankruptcy, to the riches of the Premier League. The Welsh club could be seen as one of the many examples for Bournemouth to follow as they try to beat the odds once again to secure themselves as a Premier League side.
Eddie Howe is a talented young manager, who has been the key force behind the club’s rise up the leagues over two spells and it will be interesting to see how he copes with the pressures of the top flight. The main aim of any promoted club is to build a squad capable of keeping them in the league and Bournemouth have started to do this with five additions to date: Sylvain Distin, Tyrone Mings, Josh King, Adam Federici and Artur Boruc have all joined the Cherries. The club also added Christian Atsu and Filippo Costa on loans. These represent solid signings, but there is still much to do this summer. The signings of Boruc and Distin will bring much needed top level experience and organisation to the back four. The former played a key role in the club’s promotion while on loan from Southampton and he will be key once again this season if he gets the number one jersey ahead of Adam Federici.
The other two signings are younger and have little top level experience, but have been regulars in the Championship for the last few years and they will be keen to show they can make the step up. The signing of Mings was a coup as there were several established Premier League clubs interested in the full-back, but Bournemouth stole a march on their rivals and completed a deal for £8m plus the loan of Ryan Fraser.
Bournemouth already had some of the most sought after stars in the Championship last season, with Matt Ritchie winning a number of awards for his role in the club’s promotion. The winger has since made his international debut for Scotland and he will be eager to continue making match winning contributions in the top flight. Also in a young, hungry squad are Harry Arter and Callum Wilson, who caught the eye of many with their performances over the last 12 months. All three could be revelations in the Premier League, but they could also struggle to adapt, and that is why the club needs more proven top flight players, especially in midfield and in attack.
Max Gradel and Charlie Austin have been linked with the Cherries and they would certainly add a lot of attacking quality to the side, but there is competition for players like these. It’s crucial that Bournemouth sell themselves well and with two or three proven top flight players, they will be in a great position to stay in the Premier League. They already have a young talented squad, who Eddie Howe can get the best out of on a weekly basis, but more quality is needed.
Bournemouth are in a similar situation to Burnley last season, who had a talented manager, a hard working side with some talented players, but they failed to bring in the quality to win the points required. Bournemouth can’t make the same mistakes. The Cherries have a platform to have a very good debut season in the top flight, but it’s too early to suggest whether they can stay up. We will know a lot more come September, the next few weeks could define Bournemouth’s season. A good start is crucial, as is a good transfer window.