Last week the worst fears for Bournemouth fans were confirmed when it was revealed new big money signing Max Gradel would be facing a six-month injury lay off after scans showed that the winger had sustained cruciate knee ligament damage against Leicester.
The injury has required surgery, and now one of Bournemouth’s key men for the season won’t return until January at the very earliest.
The news of Gradel’s long term injury lay off was only compounded by the fact that record signing Tryone Mings is now unavailable for the entire season after the £8million man tore anterior medial knee ligaments after just six minutes into his Premier League debut against Leicester.
The news is a huge blow for the newly promoted club and Cherries manager Eddie Howe has echoed that missing the two isn’t ideal.
He said: “I feel for players more than anyone.
“I’m really disappointed for them that they’re both going to be out for long periods. We are certainly going to miss them. They were a key part of what we were doing going forward. We hunted both of them, especially Max, for a long time”.
The blow is big as seen by the fact that the Cherries spent £21million on new players this summer, with £14million of that being spent on the injured pair. They were supposed to be key members of Howe’s squad as they aimed to secure their Premier League status.
The heavy investment in the pair shows alone that Howe had faith in the duo to add some much needed Premier League quality to his squad. He would have been hoping that the outlay on the two will have been enough for survival, however without them you would have to say the Cherries’ hopes of survival have become seriously damaged.
Of course Mings hadn’t really played, but over the season he would have had a crucial role to play, and now the onus is very much on Charlie Daniels to produce the goods down the left flan.
However, it is difficult to expect too much too soon from Daniels and an injury to the left back would leave Howe seriously short in that department.
Moving up the left flank to Gradel and it is probably a bigger blow that the former St Etienne man is out for six months, he has already become a key player.
He showed in the 4-3 away win at West Ham that he’s a talented and hard working player by putting in a star performance and winning the penalty for the Cherries’ fourth goal by working hard and closing down Carl Jenkinson.
He has already bought into Howe’s philosophy and clearly his pace down the left would have been key to the Cherries attacking play this season.
Along with his hard working mentality, he has a lot of quality too. His pace, trickery and eye for the spectacular are crucial to Bournemouth, and whilst Marc Pugh is a talented player, he lacks that pace needed in the Premier League to be a worthwhile, long-term replacement for Gradel.
The injuries to Mings and Gradel has come as a huge blow to Bournemouth and it could be a long season without them, especially if no one steps up.