HomeFootball NewsInvestigating the changes at Bournemouth ahead of the 2023-24 campaign

Investigating the changes at Bournemouth ahead of the 2023-24 campaign

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At the beginning of last season, everybody believed Bournemouth would be heading straight back down to the Championship. This looked to be the case after the dismissal of former manager Scott Parker following a 9-0 defeat at Anfield four games into the season, leaving the Cherries 17th in the league.

Gary O’Neil then became interim boss for a 12-game spell, where he was able to guide Bournemouth to 15 points from a possible 36. Due to the positive results, O’Neil was made permanent manager on an 18-month contract. Despite a run of seven games without a win from late December to mid-February, seven wins from the last 16 meant that Bournemouth were able to keep their Premier League status for another season. Unfortunately for O’Neil finishing 15th and five points off the relegation zone wasn’t enough to keep his job, and he was the victim of a very harsh sacking.

The club looks to be switching its direction for the upcoming season with the appointment of 41-year-old Spaniard Andoni Iraola. The former Atletico Bilbao defender had a three-year stint as Rayo Vallecano’s manager before joining the Premier League. In his first season with the Madrid-based club, Iraola was able to get them promoted to La Liga after playoff success.

In the following two seasons, on limited funds and signings, he led them to 12th and 11th-place finishes respectively. An impressive feat that occurred during the most recent season was the El Clasico double, beating both Barcelona and Real Madrid at home.

The new manager on the south coast of England has used the tactics and style of play of Marcelo Bielsa as inspiration. Iraola himself made over 100 appearances under the former Leeds manager. So, expect a high press and intensity from Bournemouth next season.

Bournemouth’s takeover in December of last year, which included minority ownership for Michael B Jordan, meant that they had a new owner who grosses a net worth of around £1.2 billion. The new ownership did put money into the playing squad in January, spending £45m to bring in Illia Zabarnyi from Dynamo Kyiv, and Dango Ouattara from FC Lorient.

Already this summer they have spent a further £20m making the January loan signing of midfielder Hamed Traore from Sassuolo a permanent one. They also added Dutch winger Justin Kluivert from Roma for an initial fee of £9.5m, further signifying that the new manager will have money to spend to improve the squad.

It isn’t the easiest start to the 2023-24 season in terms of the club’s first three fixtures.

An opener at home to West Ham, followed by a trip to Anfield and the visit of Spurs could tell us exactly what to expect from Bournemouth this season. Despite bringing in an inexperienced manager for the Premier League, Bournemouth does have the look of a club that could be exciting to watch over the season.

With Bielsa-like tactics and money to spend, could we see Iraola’s men look to better the club’s best-ever Premier League finish, which is 9th from the 2016-17 season?

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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