There’s been lots of talk about money being tight this summer – no surprise given how long clubs have been without crowds – which is likely to mean free agent signings will be more important than ever.
Both Bournemouth’s Scott Parker and Celtic’s Ange Postecoglou are looking to shape their squad after taking charge of their respective clubs this summer and it seems they’re keen to use the free agent market to help them do that.
According to Football Insider, the two clubs are locked in a tug-of-war over Kyle Edwards, who was released by West Bromwich Albion earlier this summer and following the end of his trial at Reading is searching for a club once again.
The 23-year-old is a product of the Albion academy and made 49 appearances for them in total but had slipped out of favour ahead of his Hawthorns departure.
What is it then that has both the Cherries and the Bhoys interested?
We put a spotlight on his performances for the Baggies over the years to examine just that…
Though Edwards’ 49 appearances came across three seasons for Albion, he played just 2234 minutes of football in total for them and was limited mostly to opportunities from the bench.
Rarely did the winger get the chance to start multiple games in a row, which cannot have helped him find form or settle into the side properly.
Even so, a return of four goals and three assists is poor production for a player of his talent – hinting at why the Baggies opted against giving him a new deal.
Edwards, who is most comfortable off the left but can be used in attacking midfield on the right, is still a real threat with his pace and direct running meaning he can be a real nuisance for opposition defenders.
For the Baggies, the 23-year-old averaged 8.1 dribbles (with a success rate of 49.8) and 3.83 progressive runs per 90 with his ball-carrying ability regularly helping to drag his side forward and to attack the opposition box.
What was the score the last time AFC Bournemouth played at each of these 24 stadiums?
His directness, either down the flanks or into the penalty area, and fast feet can produce opportunities for teammates – as his 2.82 crosses and 1.21 shot assists per 90 illustrate – but his own quality in front of goal – which saw him average 1.65 shots per 90 with 41.5% on target – is an area his prospective new manager may want to see him improve on.
Edward’s defensive contribution is hardly a standout trait but he can be a useful asset without the ball as his 2.62 interceptions and 3.59 recoveries per 90 indicate.
When on song, Edwards can be a real live wire and it is clear to see why both Celtic and Bournemouth are so keen on him. If they can help him produce his best consistently, the 23-year-old could prove a dangerous weapon and a phenomenal addition.
On a free transfer, you feel that has to be worth a go.