AFC Bournemouth may lose some players this summer to bigger clubs, but they will also have to do without one of their stars for the first six games of the campaign if they keep him around.
The club’s record signing Jefferson Lerma was one of many big names who remained at the Cherries to try and get them back to the top flight at the first time of asking, but as we know it never worked out.
In typical Lerma fashion he was booked a lot and involved in controversy, including antics against Watford that wound up the whole Hornets fanbase, but earlier on in the season in November an incident occurred against Sheffield Wednesday that hung over the Colombian’s head for a while.
Lerma was accused of biting Owls striker Josh Windass and it’s taken until after the season has concluded for the punishment to come into effect as the midfielder will be banned for six matches and also fined £40,000.
The 26-year-old has spoken out for the first time since confirmation of the punishment and he is still maintaining his innocence – however he won’t be appealing the decision.
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“After much consideration I have decided not to appeal the suspension handed to me by the Football Association,” Lerma’s statement read, per the Bournemouth Echo.
“This in no way reflects an admission of any guilt and I continue to deny the allegation made against me.
“I have cooperated fully throughout to try and prove my innocence.
“Sadly, however, the process I have witnessed over the past seven months has been incredibly disappointing – not least the lack of evidence used to charge me and the length of time since the fixture in question.
“Given the disappointment I feel, it is with regret that I do not have the confidence that an appeal would be handled any better and that has played a big part in my decision.”
We may never know if it really happened or not but the FA have had their final say, despite what Lerma and Bournemouth think happened.
And he will be a big miss for the first six games of the Championship season, especially if they have a tough run of fixtures to start the campaign.
But there’s no guarantee that he will be at the Vitality Stadium at the start of the season – with Bournemouth not achieving promotion at the first time of asking back to the Premier League their players will be in-demand and Lerma, along with David Brooks, Arnaut Danjuma and others, will likely be on the shopping lists of clubs.