AFC Bournemouth are entering a brave new world under Scott Parker.
The club have been keen to keep things in-house with regard to their managerial appointments before. Jason Tindall was the man they trusted to build on Eddie Howe’s fine work and Jonathan Woodgate would then replace him from the backroom staff as promotion dreams faded.
Parker is now an outsider thrust into the heart of the Football Club, tasked with rebuilding and putting Bournemouth back into the top-flight.
How Parker handles the rebuild is going to be interesting to watch unfold. Emiliano Marcondes is already through the door and looks an exciting addition, but high-profile departures could follow.
At the time of Parker’s appointment, it was reported that Arnaut Danjuma and David Brooks looked like two headline names set to move on.
Football League World is aware of interest in Danjuma and the battle that Bournemouth have to retain the winger’s service. However, it’s also been revealed to us this week that there’s real hope at the Vitality Stadium that Brooks might remain.
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The Welsh international is showing a willingness to stay put for another 12 months, with it a real possibility he will be pulling on the black and red under Parker in 2021/22.
That itself is huge news for the Cherries given Brooks’ quality and the numbers he produces in alongside someone like Danjuma.
Danjuma was the scorer of 17 goals in the Championship last season and his potential departure will obviously be a blow. Brooks is a different kind of attacking threat, though, with a lesser return to his name over the course of the last 12 months. The 24-year-old scored five times in 2020/21, aligning with his expected goals.
He did outperform Danjuma in terms of his assists, however, teeing up seven goals across the season to the Dutchman’s six and, in the process, significantly outperforming his expected assists. That came from only 27 shot assists, underlining the quality of chance the former Sheffield United man creates. In comparison, Danjuma assisted 43 shots for his return.
In other departments, the pair match up nicely. Brooks’ dribble success sits at 46.7% and he managed 76 ball recoveries across the season – 67.1% of which came in the opposition half. Danjuma’s respective numbers sit at 47.5% and 64, with 65.5% of his recoveries in the opposition half.
One area of Brooks’ game that we’ve focused on is his willingness to play forwards and into dangerous areas of the pitch. He attempted 70 passes into the penalty area last season, with a further 114 passes played into the final third. The latter number is almost double Danjuma’s return of 68; although it’s worth noting that it was often Brooks searching for the run of his fellow winger, like in the play-off semi-final first leg win over Brentford, as Danjuma netted the 16th of his 17 goals.
Even with the quality Brooks and Danjuma produced over the season, it wasn’t enough for Bournemouth in the promotion race and then the play-offs. That brings us to the here and now.
Parker has inherited two outstanding Championship players that have all the ability to step up a division comfortably. It was widely expected both would do so, and Danjuma still might.
However, the possibility of retaining Brooks is now increasing, which is a major in-house coup for Parker.
He will like what he’s seen so far of the Welsh international: bravery to get on the ball, balance, weight of pass, productivity and a willingness to work out of possession.
Part of Parker’s rebuild should be constructing around his quality in the final third. Matching his ability with likeminded players would leave Bournemouth in a wonderful position, negating an element of the risk of a fresh start under a new regime with pure class.
It might even tee Parker up for similar success to some of his predecessors.