Three months into the season, and Bournemouth find themselves in the relegation zone after a serious recent slump of form.
Only two wins all season, five losses in their last six, and 16 goals conceded during those six games – it’s turning into a rather dispiriting autumn for Eddie Howe’s men, who entered the new campaign with plenty of optimism after their outstanding season in the Championship last year.
Many pundits and commentators suspected all along that playing the same sort of free-flowing, attacking football that had been successful in the Championship would lead to problems in a league of higher quality, and that’s exactly how it’s turned out.
In particular, the two defensive performances against Man City and Tottenham a few weeks ago will not have escaped Howe’s attention; he will know that they must improve in this area.
With that in mind, here’s a list of five reinforcements Howe might consider calling for in January…
An experienced centre back who has played in the Premier League for many years, first with West Brom, before moving onto Aston Villa, then Birmingham, and lastly Hull City.
In the early part of his career it looked for a time as if he might manage to break into the England set up, and he is still a valuable and skilled defender who could offer some Premier League know-how to Bournemouth.
Having been a regular with Hull right up until their relegation, he’s still essentially a Premier League quality player.
The young Brighton central defender has been attracting a lot of Premier League interest since the summer, and it’s easy to see why.
As part of an outstanding Brighton defence this year and as one of their only bright sparks last term, Dunk is definitely coveted. Good in the air, comfortable on the ball and with a decided turn of pace for one so tall, Dunk has most of the attributes to defend at Premier League level.
What’s more, he can score goals as well, making him invaluable to teams wondering who will chip in.
The Middlesbrough defender, who can either play as a left back or centre back, has been consistently impressive for the last few years.
In 2013 and 2014 he was the Boro Player of the Year, while in May he was named in the Championship Team of the Year. Extremely solid, but also capable of getting forward and setting up chances, Friend has been a consistent member of the Boro defence that has been in general so impressive over the last few seasons.
Inexperienced at Premier League level, but as one of the Championship’s top defenders over the last few seasons would definitely be worth a bid.
One of the Championship’s surprise packages this season, with 11 goals in all competitions already.
Blackman, who’s been with Reading since January 2013, is very much a confidence player and at the moment the confidence is oozing from him. Pacy, skillful and an adept finisher, he could potentially fill the whole that was left when Callum Wilson was disastrously ruled out for the whole season.
He would be a slight gamble as he lacks top flight experience, but has all the tools and raw talent to worry even the best of defenders.
Barry would be an extremely left-field and ambitious signing, but would definitely be worth a punt.
Bournemouth have looked all season like they need some protection in front of the back four, and who better to give it to them than the experienced Barry, who has performed very well in the sitting role for Everton over the last few years.
His accomplished range of passing might also help if Howe does decide to continue their aggressive, free-flowing style. Although Everton would prefer to keep him, they may think that maybe now is the time to cash in on a player who, at 34, cannot have too many years at the highest level ahead of him.