Grading The Deal; The Laudable Lewis Cook to AFC Bournemouth

Lewis Cook (YPOTY)

AFC_Bournemouth_(2013).svg

The silly season is fully underway, as club “think tanks” seek to delve into the transfer market and attempt to strengthen their teams going into the new season, while also ensuring that they get the best possible value for money deals in a very competitive and largely inflated global transfer market. We at GSV have taken it upon ourselves to give you a comprehensive breakdown of some transfer deals in our Grading The Deal supplement, an exclusive and comprehensive guide catered towards the purists who seek to know more than the average fan regarding the wheeling’s and dealings in football today. Enjoy!

#TheSuperMarket

Leeds United Football Club can hang their hat on the club’s youth development academy’s ability to produce elite level ready young talents, many of whom often go onto have successful professional football careers in the game. Lewis Cook has followed Sam Byram by joining an ambitious English Premier League club after earning his stripes at Leeds United, while Byram chose to sign for West Ham United in January of 2016, Lewis watched on in agony as his move to The Cherries fell-through at the eleventh hour, when odds looked on for him to join Benik Afobe as the other hot English prospect signing for AFC Bournemouth. Eddie Howe is said to be a keen admirer of Lewis Cook and what he brings to the table, having scouted the wunderkind on numerous occasions over the course of last season, Cook will have been reassured of the opportunities he will have to further his development, in a team that seems perfectly suited to his dynamic game play.

Lewis Cook has made great strides in his relatively young professional career thus far, the lad has progressed in many regards due to regular first team exposure at a highly competitive level; while his potential ceiling remains extremely high, many have questioned just how far he could be in his development, were it not for having to play under 7 coaches during his time in the Leeds United first team, a spell that coincides with the rule of enigmatic & controversial Leeds United manager axing owner Massimo Cellino. A fresh start, and the lure of stability, in a culture that is not too dissimilar to what Leeds United have been aspiring to recreate within their illustrious club, will only serve Lewis Cook well as he continues to develop into the world-class talent he promises to become.

The departure of Matt Ritchie to Newcastle United for £12m had created a void in the Bournemouth midfield, Lewis Cook’s experience playing in multiple positions, and his effectiveness in different roles, garnered from playing differing systems, will have been great preparation for his new challenge in a team that looks to play their passing game while also adapting their structure to combat specific opposition threats. In Lewis Cook, AFC Bournemouth have secured the services of one of the hottest young prospects in English football, the transition from Championship to Premier League level will not necessarily be easy or without obstacles, but the structure in place at the club should allow the transition to be one that only progresses Lewis Cook’s development.

Lewis Cook

Bio

Full Name: Lewis John Cook

DoB: February 3rd, 1997 (19)

PoB: York, North Yorkshire; England

Nationality: English

Caps & Goals: u/16, 5 Caps | u/17, 15 Caps | u/18, 1 Cap | u/19, 9 Caps

Position/s: Deep-Lying Playmaker, Box-To-Box Midfielder, Attacking Midfielder, Advanced Playmaker, Trequartista, Inside Forward, Winger (L/R/C)

Height: 1, 75m

Preferred Foot: Right

Club: A.F.C. Bournemouth

Jersey No: Not Yet Assigned

Contract Expiry: June 30th, 2020

Transfer Fee: £6m + add-ons up to £10m

Former Club: Leeds United Football Club (2014-2016)

Development Nest: Leeds United Youth Academy (2004-2014)

2015/16 Club Stats: 47 Games, 2 Goals & 3 Assists

Total Career Stats: 85 Games, 2 Goals & 5 Assists

GSV Deal Grader: Matt Holland from West Ham United FC to A.F.C. Bournemouth on a Free Transfer in 1994 (4/5)

The Grand Stand View

Leeds United gaffer Garry Monk had withdrawn Cook from the England u/19 squad to compete in the 2016 UEFA European u/19 Championship, as he looked to work with the young starlet for a full pre-season, a decision that could eventually come back to benefit Eddie Howe and his Bournemouth side in the coming season, as they now have enough time to get Lewis up to pace with his new teammates. The England youth international was one of the talented young players who went onto win the 2014 UEFA European Championship in Malta; Lewis Cook is also one of the few players from that successful side to progress into fully fledged professionals, after that breakthrough tournament for many in the team, something that may translate into progress at the senior national team level over time, and with great effort invested.

Strengths

Dynamic young attacking English talents with potential world-class ability often catch the eye, due mainly to the rarity of such talents in English football, Lewis Cook is blessed with that almost unEnglish ability to take on players with his dribbling ability, and create space to be exploited simply via his ability to beat his marker 1v1. Blessed with a high level of creativity, to compliment his impressive technical gifts, Cook uses his attacking gifts extremely well and his movement on and off the ball allows him to remain a constant threat in midfield. While his final product still needs some work, Lewis has the ability to distribute the ball well at the elite level, and create attacking opportunities for his side when he goes on one of his mazy runs, that often destabilise opposition defensive lines.

Weaknesses

The lack of consistency in playing one specific role, where he can acclimate to playing for a prolonged period of time, has hurt Lewis in many ways; while the lad is blessed with the potential to do magical things on the ball, his decision making and anticipation of in-game situations has to improve, if he is to fully translate his potential into regular displays of elite level ability in the Premier League. Final product is a great issue of concern for many gifted young players, the pace of football today is prone to expose a player’s lack of composure or execution, now that one has even less time on the ball; Lewis Cook has to work on his final ball or action in attack, his assists and goals tally is not a true reflection of his ability as a player. If Lewis Cook is to eventually progress into playing his more naturally suited role of the deep-lying playmaker, his tackling and anticipation of space on the defensive end will also need to be worked on, yet there is no denying that the lad has many of the intangible gifts truly needed to flourish in a role that he has all the attacking traits to star in at the elite level.

GSV Dugout; The English Chosen One Eddie Howe

A Living Legend| Eddie Howe
A Living Legend| Eddie Howe
Going Up (Yet Again)
Going Up (Yet Again)

#TheBootRoom

A great gaffer is a leader who inspires athletes to perform at their optimal levels and allow them to receive the due plaudits for their impressive performances and achievements while also providing a shield from criticism and ridicule during the less joyful times; football, like many sports, is a beautiful game with its own set of unwritten laws and any gaffer worth his salt knows that great performances are often credited to the players while poor showings can often lead to the hot seat feeling more uncomfortable than usual. At GSV, we take our self allotted duty to help balance the imbalances in our sport dreadfully seriously and we earnestly hope that this GSV Dugout feature helps to shine a light on those that plan the great shocks, thrilling comebacks, goose bump causing thrashings and clinical smash & grab results that leave us confabulating for eons to differing degrees.

Eddie Howe

Bio

Full Name: Edward John Frank Howe

DoB: November 29th, 1977 (37)

PoB: Amersham, Buckinghamshire; England

Playing Role: Defender

Playing Experience: Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Swindon Town (273 Games; 12 Goals); 2 England u/21 Caps

Previous Coaching Experience: AFC Bournemouth Developmental Side Coach

Managerial Roles: AFC Bournemouth (December 31st, 2008 – January 16th, 2011); Burnley F.C. (January 16th, 2011 – October 12th, 2012); AFC Bournemouth (October 12th, 2012 – Present)

Managerial Record:

Club Spell Games Won Drawn Lost Win %
AFC Bournemouth December 31st, 2008 – January 16th, 2011 102 51 18 33 50.00
Burnley F.C. January 16th, 2011 – October 12th, 2012 87 34 19 34 39.08
AFC Bournemouth October 12th, 2012 – Present 142 76 31 35 53.52
Total 331 161 68 102 48.64

The Grand Stand View

There seems to be a concern around younger unproven managers looking to overdo the game management phenomenon being promoted these days by setting up their sides to be defensively solid and compact as a unit in an attempt to ensure that they are hard to beat as the gaffer seeks to grow in confidence while on the job, this is something that is truly understandable on both sides and one can only pray that more and more younger gaffers implore their players to play the beautiful game in an aesthetically pleasing manner while also remaining solid and competitive on the defensive end as well. Eddie Howe was a competent defender, before injury ended his career a few years too early, but he still makes it his life’s mission to ensure that his side plays that good brand of football worthy of being played on a football field in front of the thousands of paying fanatics and the endless global viewers.

Adopting an attacking philosophy as a gaffer is one thing, the manner in which you go about looking to create attacking opportunities is another kettle of fish altogether and its within those murky waters that we distinguish who deserves to reign in the reef. I am personally of the opinion that a gaffer that seeks to play a possession based system that implores the players to create attacking opportunities with the ball by combining swift and accurate passing with precisely timed movement off the ball and dynamic play breaking runs on it is a leader that stands head and shoulders above the one that just seeks to get a result regardless of the performance. Eddie Howe is truly a great in the making because of his ability to balance the rigours of defending with the intent to breakup play and transitioning swiftly into that crafty offensive play that seems to slice through opposition defences like a hot knife through some homemade butter at high tea.

Tactical nous can outweigh man management skills when you consider how a tactically inept gaffer can fire a player up to the point of inferno and still fail to utilise the players true abilities for the betterment of the side in the achievements of their goals, while a tactically astute manager can still get a good shift out of a lesser motivated player by structuring the side accordingly and ensuring that the player can gain motivation from playing well and assisting the team. Luckily for Eddie Howe, his past experiences under top level gaffers like Harry Redknapp have moulded him into a good man manager and a decent tactician as well with his interchangeable 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 systems making his side harder to contain when they put the ball down and bring out the Olé chants; the fact that he is unafraid to change it up when the occasion calls for it by throwing two or three up top and chasing the game or going three at the back and shutting up the shop is a testament to just how good Howe truly is as a tactician.

Squad management is where managerial careers can be made or broken, Eddie Howe is a gaffer that has shown that he knows how to make the most of the resources he has available to him both in the transfer market and on the training pitch; his side is well balanced in key areas and there is an ardent desire to ensure that there is strength in depth to create for healthy competition within the squad for playing time. Howe has displayed a keen eye for talent with his purchases and selections showing that he knows what talents looks like without it having to slap him in the face and he possesses the required acumen to utilise that talent while nurturing it to grow and fulfil the potential that was already there to start with.

One of the greatest traits Eddie has been blessed with is the uncanny ability to use British players to their strengths while playing a more continental brand of football with that same English grit and determination evident in the teams’ enterprise. The use of raw pace to create headaches within the defensive ranks, the clever tweaks to the passing game with more Wenger-like triangles and neat interchanges and the mindful imploration of shooting on site with good power and great accuracy at the end of attacking plays; if Eddie Howe can do this with little attraction for players in the lower leagues on the South Coast, he will surely be receiving some pressing calls from a few football intermediaries with clients to sell as that upward momentum continues to be ridden by The Cherries.

The availability of funds at Bournemouth has allowed us a good barometer for just how good Howe is with the cheque book in hand on a stroll through the market, the gaffer has used his purse well and the signings he has made have proven to be choice buys with many of his players either coming at a feasible price or costing the club relatively little in remuneration. Howe has acquired a few talents with good resale value and that return on investment is how we note a thoughtful and competent gaffer in modern football as those proceeds can be used to continue growing the squad and elevating them even further. While the resources available at Bournemouth are enough to make one think that The Cherries are well off, the sea of riches possessed by the South Coast club lies in their club legend gaffer and the brilliance bestowed that within the English Chosen One, and Bob’s your Edgar Street Stadium season ticket holding lifetime Hereford United F.C. beer mug having uncle mate.