This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Steve Cook hasn’t had much to do at Bournemouth so far this campaign and despite his years of service to the Cherries, he could soon be allowed to move on from the club.
With the winter window set to open its doors, the defender could soon be sold on and the Mail Online is reporting that there are a number of Championship sides (and some Premier League ones) that could be vying for his signature in January.
Cook could certainly still do a job at a decent level but has been dropped in favour of other options by Scott Parker – so rather than sit on the bench, it could be beneficial to both parties for him to move on when he can. He could get more regular action and also help out a Championship side in the second half of the campaign with his experience and knowhow.
But who could be the best team to sign Cook? Should he leave them now or should he wait until summer and the end of his contract? Here is the verdict from some of our writers…
I still believe that Cook could have a big part to play at Bournemouth, but you have to imagine that long-term the partnership of Chris Mepham and Lloyd Kelly is the one that Scott Parker will go with going forward.
Therefore you can’t be surprised if Cook wants a fresh start away from the Cherries after being such a long-serving player and it looks like he has no shortage of options.
Even though a reunion with Eddie Howe at Newcastle would be attractive for Cook I think the Magpies should be aiming higher and I’m not sure if Cook is good enough to be a regular in the top flight anymore.
Out of both QPR and Nottingham Forest though I think that I’d like to see Cook at QPR more – Rob Dickie and Jimmy Dunne could learn a lot off him and playing alongside those two I think the R’s would have a huge chance of getting into the play-offs.
Quiz: What club do these 20 ex-AFC Bournemouth strikers play for now?
You get the feeling that staying at Bournemouth until the end of the season may be a good option for Cook.
An established veteran of this Cherries side, Cook could be confident of retaining his place in the starting lineup for Scott Parker’s team, where he would no doubt enjoy a push for automatic promotion during the second half of the campaign.
By contrast, a move to Watford or Newcastle would likely see Cook enduring a relegation battle in the next few months, while Forest and QPR both face a battle to reach the play-offs.
It could be argued therefore, that remaining at The Vitality Stadium, where he is a popular figure and may have a good chance of earning another contract, could be the best option for Cook heading into the January transfer window.
It is exciting to see what the next step is for Steve Cook, as he is a wonderful player who deserves to be playing football at a high level week in week out.
He is a player who brings leadership and experience, whilst he has the physicality and intelligence to match, which for me, makes him a top Championship defender.
There is scope for him to move to the Premier League clubs mentioned above, as he does have the ability to be operating at top tier level, but he would risk not being an integral first-team member.
At Nottingham Forest and QPR, it would be likely that he would cement himself in the starting line up quite early on and progress from there.
Both clubs are highly ambitious too, meaning Premier League football could come to him as early as next season.