Why Bournemouth are sleepwalking towards disaster

The logical conclusion is that Bournemouth are staring at going straight back down with the suspicion that owner Maxim Demin may not have the stomach, or perhaps even the finances, for the fight. Why else would he not invest or does he really believe the squad is good enough or is he simply prepared to accept relegation?

Rumors still swirl, having emerged last year, that the Russian businessman (with UK citizenship) may be looking to sell the club. No comment was forthcoming when Bloomberg first reported this. Clearly Bournemouth would be a far more attractive proposition now they back are in the Premier League while the situation has left Parker understandably cutting an increasingly frustrated figure.

For a young, ambitious manager it is an extremely tough position. Parker has done an excellent job at Bournemouth. Just as he did at Fulham. The 41-year-old has managed two seasons in the Championship, widely acknowledged as the hardest, most attritional of leagues, and gained promotion on both occasions. That is actually an unprecedented achievement.

Sandwiched in between is a relegation and the fear has to be that he has, again, been left with a squad clearly not equipped to even compete in the Premier League.

Bournemouth have just three central defenders

Even earning promotion was impressive. Parker lost Arnaut Danjuma for £20 million and replaced him with academy graduate Jaidon Anthony; one of four have promoted. High-earners such as goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and Diego Rico were moved on. I have persuaded Dominic Solanke to stay, with the striker going on to score a career-best 30 goals last season.

A club that had finished sixth the year before, with a stronger squad, went up automatically. Reinforcements arrived in January but, of those, only striker Kieffer Moore has made a difference while Todd Cantwell, on loan from Norwich City, is one of the eight who has left along with centre-halves Nat Phillips (also on loan) and Gary Cahill .

In fact Bournemouth have just three central defenders. Their young captain Lloyd Kelly is certainly good enough but after him there is only Chris Mepham, who was not always a regular last season, and 20-year-old James Hill who was bought as a player to develop from League One Fleetwood Town and has made a couple of first-team appearances.

Just as alarmingly Bournemouth have only two goalkeepers – first-choice Mark Travers, 23, who replaced Begovic, and Will Dennis who has played one first-team game, an FA Cup tie, and has spent most of his career in Southern Counties football. What happens if Travers gets injured?

It appears Bournemouth are pinning their hopes of a small handful of players – Solanke (who needs support), Kelly, Lewis Cook, Philip Billing and Jefferson Lerma (who only has a year left on his contract) – and even more so on Parker’s nous , drive and coaching ability. But with the manager appearing frustrated, and becoming vocal in his frustration, is that sustainable? He desperately needs reinforcements and has called for two more defenders to be signed before the weekend but that looks unlikely.

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