Pundit Jobi McAnuff believes AFC Bournemouth should be demanding at least £38m for the services of star striker Dominic Solanke during this transfer window, speaking on Sky Sports (10/1; 9:42pm).
The 24-year-old first arrived at the Vitality Stadium back in January 2019 in a £19m deal, scoring just three times in 42 Premier League appearances after moving on from Liverpool and enduring a tough start to his spell on the south coast.
However, he has been a completely different player since the Cherries’ relegation back to the Championship, scoring 15 goals and recording 12 assists in 40 second-tier displays last term as he proved to be a lethal force alongside Dutchman Arnaut Danjuma under Jason Tindall and Jonathan Woodgate.
Quiz: Can you name which club AFC Bournemouth signed these 28 defenders from?
Danjuma may have moved on to Europa League champions Villarreal since then, but Solanke has been just as effective under Scott Parker’s stewardship this season, already registering 18 goals in 25 league outings and impressing despite being overshadowed by the likes of Ben Brereton Diaz and Aleksandar Mitrovic who have also been exceptional in the second tier during 2021/22.
However, his record hasn’t gone unnoticed and is reportedly being tracked by former boss Eddie Howe who looks set to be backed heavily by Newcastle United’s owners during the January window after the club’s takeover in October.
Former Reading captain and current Sky Sports pundit McAnuff believes Bournemouth should be holding out for a sizeable fee if the Magpies do come knocking for their prized asset’s services.
He said: “Dom Solanke seems to just keep improving, had a really good season last year, he’s taken that to another level this season.
“I think, if you’re talking about individuals and importance to a football club, and the team and the way they play, nobody’s going to be more important than Dom Solanke.
“Scott Parker has been so vocal on how highly he rates him and how important he is to the team.
“We’re talking about a player they bought for £19m, so I think if there is interest you’re going to have to be seeing an offer at least double that.”
When the forward first arrived at the Vitality, they failed to specify his contract length so it remains to be seen how long he has left on his deal.
However, the fact they haven’t tied him down to an extension potentially signals that he still has quite a long time left on his current terms and with this, the Cherries would be under no real pressure to cash in on him.
The club that are in the race for him also needs to be considered in this – because the second-tier side will know the Magpies have no shortage of funds at their disposal as they look to remain afloat in the Premier League.
This is why you can’t blame McAnuff for putting this price tag on the forward because he would be a massive miss for Bournemouth if he was to leave mid-season, something officials at the south-coast probably wouldn’t let happen unless a price tag like £38m was to be matched.
That amount of money would allow the Cherries to secure their long-term financial stability, stay within the EFL’s financial rules comfortably and invest not only in a new forward, but also in other areas as they look to secure automatic promotion back to the top tier at the second time of asking.