As his side stride towards Premier League survival with weeks to spare, thoughts of pre-season activity will doubtless be bouncing around the inside of Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe’s cranium.
Currently nine points clear of danger on 35, the Cherries require a solitary victory from their final nine fixtures to be all but guaranteed of a place in the top tier next term, while two wins will see them surpass the 40-point threshold.
The official line on the subject will surely be ‘we’re just focusing on the next game’, but with financiers willing to spend and the much-discussed new TV deal set to augment an already healthy transfer budget, Howe will have squandered many a minute fantasising of an extravagant shopping spree having nigh-on nailed his remit for this campaign.
After forking out close to £20m on Benik Afobe and Lewis Grabban in January, improving in attack is obviously a priority for the Cherries chief, so expect him to target similar players this summer.
Afobe has proved a handy acquisition and Howe clearly has designs on how he can get the best out of Grabban, having bought him twice now, but the club’s days of taking punts on strikers unproven at the highest level may well be over.
Bournemouth have found the net a respectable 35 times in the league, but statistically speaking, they should be even better off. Howe has created a striker haven on the south coast and any elite line leader eyeing up a move to England this summer must consider the Vitality Stadium among their ideal destinations.
Outside of the ‘big six’, no Premier League team has enjoyed as much average possession in the final third as their 54.1%.
Their 710 accumulated penalty box touches tops the total posted by Tottenham, for example, but the Lilywhites have found the net 16 more times this term.
They have some of the division’s best ball carriers too, with a tally of 323 successful dribbles. Only Arsenal, Everton and Chelsea are superior in this department.
Just six sides have completed more passes in the final third than their 80.6%, while their chances created count of 283 is equal to table-topping Leicester City’s.
An average of 7.7 minutes recorded per chance created, their return in this field is comparable to Southampton (7.2), Leicester (7.1) and West Ham (7), all of whom have bagged more goals.
These impressive numbers suggest that, while far from perfect, Bournemouth aren’t bad as far as supplying the ammunition goes.
Juxtapose these stats with the fact that only 9.7% of their shots so far have beat opposing keepers (only six teams are currently posting worse percentages) and the need for stronger strikers is obvious.