Grading The Deal; The Laudable Lewis Cook to AFC Bournemouth

Lewis Cook (YPOTY)


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!


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


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.


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.


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 Institutions List; A Laudable Legacy, Leeds United

The Finest Footie Club In Yorkshire | Leeds United
The Finest Footie Club In Yorkshire | Leeds United
If Dreams Were Horses, This Lot Would Have Won Some Races | #Banter
If Dreams Were Horses, This Lot Would Have Won Some Races | #Banter

Imagine a world where aspiring young footballers could be taken in as pimple faced teens with a tad bit of bum fluff on their chins and nurtured into complete and successful professional footballers with their airbrushed faces on billboards in countries they have never considered frequenting while they sip cocktails in Ibiza with their significant other, who just happens to be an aspiring supermodel… Well dear friend and reader, such a world does exist in the football realm; although many in our fraternity tend to behave as if young stars pop up at random like a cannabis plant and bring euphoria after being allowed the opportunity to light the scene up. We at GSV have roped in your mate Uncle Bob and asked him to dust off his PhD in Development Football and become the Dean of our newly founded School Of Academies, where we enlighten, inform and entertain you with all the insight he has on development sides across the fraternity. In no particular or meticulous order, for that matter, we present to you The GSV Institutions List.


Leeds United Football Club


Country: England

Location: Elland Road, Beeston, Leeds; West Yorkshire

Founded: 1919

Head of Development & Recruitment: Terry Porter

Youth Academy Director & u/21 Manager: Paul Hart

Notable Graduates: John Lukic (GK), David Harvey (GK), Gray Sprake (GK), David Seaman (GK), Nick Byrne (GK), Paul Robinson (GK), Scott Carson (GK), Byron Stevenson (Def/ Mid), Norman Hunter (CB), Paul Medeley (Def/ Mid), Simon Grayson (Def/ Mid), Neil Aspin (Def), Matthew Kilgallon (CB/ FB), Jack Charlton (CB), John Charles (CB/ CF), Jonathan Woodgate (CB), Peter Hampton (LB), Frank Gray (LB), Terry Cooper (LB), Grenville Hair (LB), Ian Harte (LB), Danny Rose (LB/LW), Paul Reaney (RB), Gary Kelly (RB), Denis Irwin (FB), Terry Yorath (Mid), Terry Hibbit (Mid), Mick Bates (Mid), Billy Bremner (Mid), David Batty (Mid), Gary Speed (Mid), Stephen McPhail (Mid), Alan Smith (Mid/FW), Tommy Knarvik (Mid), James Milner (Mid), Jonny Howson (Mid), Fabian Delph (Mid), Peter Lorimer (AM), Harry Kewell (AM), Eddie Gray (Wing), Scott Sellars (Wing), Aaron Lennon (Wing), Jimmy Greenhoff (FW), Noel Whelan (FW), Andy Gray (FW)

Fresh Out The Oven: Eric Grimes (GK), Bailey Peacock-Farrell (GK), Ross Killock (Def/ Mid), Jake Skelton (Def), Tyler Denton (FB), Luke Garbutt (LB), Charlie Taylor (LB/LW), Sam Byram (RB/ RW), Alex Mowatt (Mid), Lewis Cook (Mid), Kalvin Phillips (Mid), Alex Purver (Mid), Chris Dawson (AM), Tom Lyman (AM), Eoghan Stokes (FW), Frank Mulhern (FW), Luke Parkin (CF), Dominic Poloen (AF), Simon Lenighan (AF)

Report Card

Training facilities: B+

Training methodologies: A

Player development: A-

Opportunities for growth: B

Dean’s Comment:

The true football history of this legendary institution and its success at youth development can be traced back to the Don Revie Era, a time where Yorkshire’s finest football club was built upon a solid foundation of talented young home-grown footballers and the shrewd acquisition of promising youngsters to be developed at United; this grand ideology has lead to the club attaining a level of pedigree and esteem that their financial troubles threatened to, yet ultimately failed to erase or fully tarnish. Despite the fact that The Whites should truly be a major force in global football purely based on their history, ideology and support base, the club has had to reclaim their legacy somewhat after years of under management and financial instability. This gradual rebuilding process has been constantly stalled by the insecurity regarding club ownership & management, yet there seems to be a greater degree of calmness around the club and that harmony will create the atmosphere required to nurture young talents into top class footballers, all while ensuring they secure promotion into the EPL in the coming seasons.

As a football club, Leeds United do not own many assets; the legendary home stadium, Elland Road, was sold to ease financial constraints and is now leased back to the club for their usage, the club’s picturesque training compound, Thorp Arch, was also sold as a result of the financial difficulties and it has been leased back to the club at a tune of £600 000 per annum. There is no denying that the one true asset owned by the club, is the good young talent they have on their books and their potential to develop even more talented youngsters, provided that they invest accordingly into their highly commendable and extremely efficient youth academy.

It may have taken a while for genuine stability to come to Elland Road and The Peacocks, yet methinks that it may only a matter of time before we see United consistently producing the level of talent they have begun to show glimpses of churning out over the past couple of seasons; the re-appointment of Paul Hart as Academy Director, the man who helped nurture Leeds protégés like Alan Smith, Ian Harte, Paul Robinson, Harry Kewell and Jonathan Woodgate, will be a major boost for the club as he will bring great experience and knowhow as a former Leeds united footballer and youth team manager.

While many will remain sceptical over United’s ability to retain the services of their talented footballers long enough to afford all parties an opportunity at genuine and lasting growth, achieved via success through promotion back into the big-time, where the players will be allowed to truly showcase their talent and earn moves to clubs that reward their parent club for the great investment they make towards the development of talented young footballers, while looking after the talent, which would have had more time to fully develop and play regular competitive football at a good level.

The only way a football club like Leeds United can return to their glory days, is through a return to their club ethos and a reestablishment of their modus operandi as a football club; The Whites should count themselves lucky to have such a “system restore point”, as other football clubs were not as fortunate as they have been in many regards, and actually lack an identity that they can return to after years of waywardness. Success requires a push and Ian Harte will need to call upon all his knowledge of youth development and youth player management, as a 2 time FA Youth Cup winner in his first stint at Leeds in the mid 90’s, as Leeds United really need to push past this final frontier and build a young squad ready to earn promotion back into the Premier League off the back of United-esque mouth-watering displays and re-establish Leeds United as a dominant force in world football, on their own free-flowing attacking terms.