Bournemouth Opinion: Cherries should look at Ademola Lookman as a replacement for Ibe and Fraser
Bournemouth Echo also understands that Southampton are interested in signing the highly-rated 21-year-old from Merseyside, with manager Ralph Hasenhuttl believed to be an admirer of the talented youngster.
Hasenhuttl worked with Lookman in the second half of the previous campaign when the player was on loan at his former club RB Leipzig. Lookman impressed with 5 goals and 3 assists from 11 appearances in the Bundesliga and Leipzig were willing to offer £22 million to make his stay permanent, only for Everton to slap a price tag of £28 million on the 21-year-old.
Lookman, who made his move to Everton from Charlton Athletic back in January 2017 for a fee of £11 million, has struggled for regular minutes at Goodison Park. He has scored 4 goals in 48 appearances for the Toffees in all competitions but more than 80 per cent of those appearances have come from the bench.
The 21-year-old was restricted to just 3 Premier League starts under Marco Silva this season, although he played as many as 18 cameos from the bench. He is still in the developmental phase of his career and lack of playtime is only going to stall his progress. Even the player is not at a stage in his career where he would be content to warm the benches and Lookman would do himself a world of good by continuing his development elsewhere.
To put things into perspective, Lookman would be a good buy for both Bournemouth and Southampton and Hasenhuttl’s relations with the player might give the Saints the upper hand in this deal. The Cherries, however, would bag a massive coup if they manage to beat off competition from the Saints and win the race for the incredibly-talented 21-year-old.
Bournemouth showed plenty of promise in the first half of the season and were even in the hunt for a Europa League qualification spot but the Cherries fell apart towards the end of the campaign, ending the season 14th in the standings. Bournemouth endured a poor run of form in the latter stages of the campaign but the fans should be happy with some wonderful individual performances from Callum Wilson, Joshua King, Ryan Fraser and Nathan Ake.
The Cherries have shown the intent to invest in promising young homegrown talents in the recent past and that ploy has worked in their favour, as Eddie Howe looks to build a strong core of first-team stars to propel the club to greater heights in the Premier League. The likes of David Brooks, Lewis Cook, Nathan Ake, Dominic Solanke, Jordon Ibe and Chris Mepham are amongst those to have arrived on the south coast in recent times and Lookman could be the next in the queue.
Noted for his lightning pace, quick feet, instant acceleration, drive, determination and high levels of stamina, Lookman is a technically gifted winger with exceptional close control and wonderful well-rounded passing and crossing attributes. He has the ability to rip defences apart and create his own space with his sharpness, flair and trickery on the ball, whilst also having the ability to produce the necessary end product.
Lookman, who has earned 31 caps for England from U-19 to U-21 levels, not only excels with his passing and crossing but he also has a great eye for goal from all ranges.
Bournemouth splashed a huge amount to bring Jordon Ibe to the club from Liverpool back in 2016 but the youngster has failed to live up to his potential and the Cherries should consider cutting their losses on him. Assist-king Ryan Fraser has also attracted interest from bigger clubs, and with the Scotsman’s contract on the south coast set to expire in 2020, the Cherries should consider cashing in on him this summer.
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Ademola Lookman looks like a real talent and it won’t be a bad idea for Bournemouth to invest in him. The 21-year-old apparently just needs to play more regularly to realise his potential and a move to the south coast could do him and the Cherries a world of good.