From apprentice to a £1million transfer in thirty appearances.
So chairman Eddie Mitchell has, for once some may say, kept his promise: Danny Ings has become AFC Bournemouth’s first million pound player. Although the actual figure hasn’t been revealed by either club, Mitchell confirmed it was over the million pound barrier and ‘has absolutely smashed our previous transfer records’. Ings, 19, became the latest player to depart the south coast club to join up with former Cherries boss Eddie Howe at Burnley. The confirmation of his transfer on Monday afternoon left questions for a number of Bournemouth fans, but also left many rubbing their hands at the prospect of bringing in a few players for the cost of one player; especially a player who had made so few first team appearances.
There is no doubt Danny Ings possesses huge potential, potential that at one point during last season saw him being linked with a move to none other than Premier League giants Liverpool. Fulham were another top flight outfit keeping tabs on the youngster.
However, any way you look at it, £1 million is a lot of money to spend on a player with such little first team experience. Ings played a vital role in securing a play-off spot for Bournemouth in League One last season, and then scored what he thought was the match winning goal in the semi-final against Huddersfield Town.
It turned out to be false dawn as Huddersfield reached the final after a penalty shootout win, but Ings’ performance gained him a lot of fans that night. It was a very mature performance from the nineteen year old and showed he could step up to the big occasion when it really mattered. However a goal record to a striker is important and eight goals in thirty games for Bournemouth isn’t exactly shouting out ‘million pound striker.’
Ings’ imminent departure certainly didn’t seem to have any impact upon the rest of the Bournemouth squad when they took on strongly backed Sheffield Wednesday at Dean Court on Saturday. The Cherries looked very composed after the 3-0 loss to Charlton on the opening weekend and took the lead in the 38th minute after new captain Adam Barrett strolled in unmarked at the back post from a Marc Pugh corner to head in from close range. The goal added to what was a very assured performance from the veteran centre-back, who earned the Man of the Match award for his display. Skilful midfielder Harry Arter added a second in the 84th minute when he controlled a Liam Feeney cross and lashed it into the bottom right corner with his left foot from 15 yards.
And then came the first post-Ings game. Bournemouth hosted recently promoted Stevenage at Dean Court on Tuesday night, hoping to build on the impressive display against Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend. However, it didn’t go to plan when Stevenage took the lead just before half time as Craig Reid slotted the ball home to many outcries of offside from the Cherries defence. Harry Arter came on at half time and immediately pegged back Stevenage’s lead with a well taken goal in the 47th minute. Bournemouth were behind again in the 65th minute after a sequence of unfortunate incidents. Flahavan and Cooper collided in the box and the ball broke to Long. Long’s shot was blocked on the line by the arm of Adam Barrett; penalty and a red card for the Cherries skipper. Bournemouth’s misery was compounded in stoppage time when Myrie-Williams made it 3-1 to Stevenage.
The Bournemouth fans will be hoping that the Stevenage game won’t be the story of the season to come; a lot of effort but no end result. Manager Lee Bradbury must be given the funds from the sale of Danny Ings to strengthen the squad in defence and attack if the Cherries are to live up to the expectation of them this season. One game at a time mind, and the long trip to Carlisle this weekend might not be the easiest place to get back on track.
If not then, there is always the ‘glamour tie’ of hosting the Premier League’s yo-yo team West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup next Tuesday… BOSCOMBE, back of the net!
Written by Craig Whittaker, We Are Going Up’s Bournemouth blogger.
Craig tweets at @craigdwhittaker