According to reports, Bournemouth are set to swoop for World Cup stars Jefferson Lerma and Diego Laxalt in a mammoth £57 million double bid.
Positive negotiations have started for Colombian international Lerma with various outlets reporting a fee in the region of £17-25 million. However, the 23-year-old would require a work permit which could prove a slight stumbling block.
Personal terms are not expected to be an issue as the Premier League outfit look to make the central midfielder their second signing of the summer, having already spent big on David Brooks from Championship Sheffield United for £11.5 million.
Lerma was part of Colombia’s World Cup squad, featuring in all four of their matches in Russia, including the Round of 16 defeat on penalties to England.
The ambitious South Coast outfit are also leading the chase for left-winger-come-left-back Laxalt and are prepared to pay Italian side Genoa the asking price for their versatile player, following an impressive tournament for his native Uruguay.
Bournemouth are set to face stiff competition from West Ham with the London set to lodge a bid for the 23-year-old former Inter Milan man.
A new Bournemouth?
Cherries’ manager Eddie Howe has received much credit from fans and pundits alike for his impressive, stylish brand of football, often using unfashionable players and improving them.
The former Burnley boss has constructed a stable Premier League squad using the likes of Charlie Daniels, Harry Arter, Ryan Fraser, Adam Smith and Marc Pugh – solid, functional players.
The signings of Lerma and Laxalt, born out of a desire to push further up the league table, would represent a step forward in terms of quality, albeit a costly one should the pair fail to adjust to the physicality and breathless pace of the ultra-competitive Premier League.
Stylistically, it will be interesting to see how the pair fit into the Bournemouth’s tactical plans, and whether Howe can successfully integrate the South American duo into a squad largely made-up of domestic and European-born players.
Questions will rightly be asked about how wise Bournemouth’s new change in recruitment policy is, given the pitfalls of panic buying players after good showings in a World Cup.
Fellow South American Kleberson famously flopped at Old Trafford after Manchester United rushed to complete a deal following Brazil’s 2002 World Cup triumph, making just 20 appearances for the Red Devils.
More recently, Cristian Riveros and Paulo da Silva rocked up at Steve Bruce’s Sunderland following an impressive 2010 World cup campaign with Paraguay. Both failed to live up to expectations at the Stadium of Light
Above all, though, this big-money move shows how inflated Premier League spending has become. Bournemouth have finished 16th, ninth and 12th in England’s top flight since promotion in 2015, yet are set to part with a fee which, in 1996, could have bought Alan Shearer (£15 million), Ronaldo (£13 million), Zinedine Zidane (£3.2 million) and Lilian Thuram (4.5 million).
Bournemouth will be looking to spend money to keep up with the Premier League big boys. Get it wrong, though, and they could find themselves heading in the wrong way on the table.
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