Callum Wilson could see that a number of strikers were being targeted to be brought into AFC Bournemouth’s squad over the summer.
It was uncertain whether Eddie Howe might splash out on an established Premier League attacker, but in the end he hasn’t yet spent big in that department. Why spend £15m on Charlie Austin if Callum Wilson can come up with the goods and keep the Cherries in the Premier League?
Some will say it is a gamble to rely on Wilson to do as well as he did last season. Yet, the 23-year-old is confident in scoring the goals and in his second season at the Cherries there is every chance that he will build an even better understanding with new strike partner Josh King. It has really been a bonus for the Cherries that no-one has come in for the former Coventry striker during this summer window. Last season there was a rebuilding project with Wilson having to try and replace the fire power of Lewis Grabban, who eventually attracted the attention of Norwich City.
Wilson’s success though has been even quicker under Eddie Howe. It seems that the manager knows exactly what he wants out of his top striker and the constant threat of his forward’s pace is likely to be just as much of a problem for defences in the Premier League as it was in the Championship. While he has had some periods when foot injuries slowed him down a shade last season, he has always been keen to get back on the score sheet whether by taking a penalty or by putting himself right in the six-yard box to feed off any mistakes.
The club won a lot of penalties last season and one of the main reasons was Wilson managing to stretch defences and finding gaps between defenders who had little choice but to try and stop him any way they could. It is a test for him this season to see if he can do the same against better international defenders and if he can find as much space as he needs to get his shots away.
He is in a great place to continue his development though. Howe will keep encouraging his lead striker in periods when he goes through a barren spell. From what we have seen in the Championship, Wilson tends to not be out of the goals for long. He won’t get as many chances per game at this level, so his finishing will have to be even more clinical now. Against West Ham he showed that he can do exactly that and if he can score 20 goals or somewhere near that in the Premier League he will have done his part in keeping the Cherries up.
It is a mark of how well he has played for Bournemouth that when new players were being signed over the summer that it was more a question of who would be playing with him rather than anyone coming into replace him. He is still learning and will have to improve by getting more of his shots on target. Yet, as long as the Cherries’ goal machine keeps enjoying his football and stays fit, is likely that their number 13 will be one of the best investments they have made in recent seasons. His stock is already increasing in value and with England Under-21 caps likely to continue, he is going to be one of the most talked about strikers in the Premier League this season.
You can check out Peter’s blog, Cherry Chimes, at http://afcbchimes.blogspot.co.uk