This sort of forward thinking by Eddie Howe is why Bournemouth have done so well in the Premier League since winning promotion back in 2015.
We are still only in May, yet the Cherries boss has already made his first signing of the transfer window with the capture of Lloyd Kelly from Bristol City.
Left-back had clearly been an area of Bournemouth’s squad Howe felt he needed to strengthen, and he has managed to do just that by adding the 20-year-old to his ranks.
How, though, do Kelly and the man he could be competing with, Charlie Daniels, compare?
Capable of playing at both left-back and centre-back, Kelly has enjoyed a solid season at Bristol City, prompting interest from some big Premier League clubs such as Liverpool (Evening Standard).
“I think he will be a centre half as he ages and progresses and gets that experience,” his now former boss Lee Johnson told Sound of the City (via Bristol Live) last September before going on to describe the versatile defender as an “absolute beast”.
But given the problems Bournemouth have had at left-back this term, you can expect Kelly to initially slot in there.
During the latter stage of the campaign, Howe has been forced to play the likes of Nathan Ake, Nathaniel Clyne and Adam Smith there, making the decision to sign someone like Kelly make a lot of sense.
TT Grade: B
Charlie Daniels, of course, has been Bournemouth’s No.1 in the left-back position, and is a more natural fit compared to the above names.
At left wing-back, especially, the former Tottenham man can be really dangerous when joining attacks.
But a serious knee injury has seen him miss most of the campaign and, at 32 years of age, it may not be long until Daniels starts to lose some of that dynamism down the left flank.
Based on that, as well as Diego Rico’s earlier struggles and his own injury problems, it was not a surprise to see Howe make signing a new left-back a priority in this transfer window.
TT Grade: B-
Once Daniels returns to full fitness, though, he will undoubtedly remain a good option for the Cherries.
That being said, you still cannot help but feel that with Kelly’s addition, Howe is looking towards the future and has acquired a long-term successor to the ex-Leyton Orient player.
And if he can perform like how he has been at Bristol City, then not only will Bournemouth be getting a potential successor, but they could also be getting quite the upgrade, too.
Bournemouth fans, can Kelly surpass Daniels? Join the discussion by commenting below.
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