It would be nothing short of elitism to suggest that Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson needs to move on this summer in order to fully realise his ambitions.
After all the Cherries striker is doing pretty well at Dean Court thank you very much, scoring for fun and establishing himself in the England set-up after finally freeing himself of two exceedingly cruel long-term injuries. The 27-year-old found the net on 14 occasions last season in the Premier League and, back in November, scored on his international debut in front of a suitably impressed Wembley crowd.
Yet there are levels, there are always levels and this week it was apparent that the next one on Wilson’s ascendancy was beyond him through absolutely no fault of his own. In Guimaraes on Thursday evening, the Three Lions were a goal down in extra-time in their Nations League semi-final against Holland. Excluding goalkeepers Gareth Southgate’s options on the bench – with one sub still permitted – were two full-backs, two centre-backs, a holding midfielder, Dele Alli, and a proven finisher who scored just three shy of Harry Kane this term – after similarly missing a chunk of the campaign to injury – yet made more than double the number of assists.
With Twitter perplexed Southgate plumped for Alli.
Callum Wilson must be wondering what he has to do to get on the pitch.
— Stuart (@StuartAK88) June 6, 2019
It's a travesty Callum Wilson hasn't featured at all in that game by the way.
— DT (@Dan_Turner_93) June 6, 2019
Would Wilson have been chosen if he had scored those 14 goals for Tottenham? To answer is to indulge in speculation but instinct tells us that the answer lies somewhere between probably and hell yes, and that is surely the conclusion Callum Wilson and his agent will also come to in the weeks ahead.
In March the Mail reported that the Toffees had joined Leicester and the Hammers in a £40m chase for the pacey forward. That trail has long gone cold. In May The Sun coupled Wilson with David Brooks in a purported ‘£80m double swoop’ being prepared by Tottenham.
There were no follow-ups from elsewhere. Even a Bournemouth fan-site admitted last month that their star player would likely be the subject of much interest over the summer.
Yet so far, there has been very little indeed. It surprises then, given his home-grown status and demonstrated ability to trouble top six defences last term – Wilson notched poacher-fashion against Manchester United and scored at the Etihad to boot – that his name so rarely appears in the transfer rumour maelstrom that is presently in over-drive.
A player of his ilk is an invaluable, highly sought-after commodity and more so a case can be made for several leading clubs needing him quite badly. Spurs are likely to seek cover for Kane with Fernando Llorente on his way out of the club. It has long been noted that Everton and West Ham could jump into European contention should they finally nail a leading man. Manchester United seemingly remain dissatisfied with Romelu Lukaku, yet Wilson’s credentials to replace him are seldom if ever touted in the media.
Instead, the usual big-name foreign fare has been trotted out, and for three times the fee that could conceivably snag a player who has numerous advantages over them.
It would be a welcome development if the south coast outfit can retain their biggest talent. It’s odd, however, that the battle to do so has been straightforward so far.