Just days after his transfer to AFC Bournemouth, former Ligue 1 starlet Dango Ouattara made his Premier League debut against a revitalised Nottingham Forest side yesterday. The 20-year-old was quick to make an impression, providing an assist for Jaidon Anthony in the 28th minute.
Bournemouth were unable to hold Forest at bay, conceding a late Sam Surridge equaliser in the 83rd minute at the Vitality Stadium (1-1). This is reflective of their poor defensive record in the 2022/23 season: at present, no other team has conceded as many goals (42) as the Cherries. The result sees Bournemouth slip into the relegation zone for the first time this season.
After an auspicious opening game at home to Aston Villa (a 2-0 win), they then lost three games in a row, conceding 16 goals in the process. The remainder of their season has seen positive results at lower-placed sides, such as their late away win at the City Ground earlier in the season, in which Anthony sealed Forest’s defeat with a winner in the 87th minute (3-2, 03/09/22). Their recent form, however, has left a lot to be desired, with just four points from the last 10 games.
But things may soon improve on England’s southern coast: Bournemouth have been bought by American investor Bill Foley in December, and after Foley’s recent acquisition of a minority stake in Brittany’s FC Lorient, the two sides look likely to share many business arrangements. Dango Ouattara, who transferred from Lorient to Bournemouth after a medical on Thursday, is just one of the fruits of this new partnership. The Cherries have also expressed a desire for Lorient’s star midfielder Enzo Le Fée, though Le Fée has dismissed such interest.
With Foley’s new side creeping into the lower rungs of the English top flight, new investments are surely the key to their survival in the Premier League. Foley appears unafraid to exercise his influence on both sides of the English channel, and the signing of Ouattara for €22.5m this week (Bournemouth’s third-most expensive acquisition) is testament to this. Previously, Ouattara had accrued six goals and six assists for Les Merlus across 18 Ligue 1 appearances this season: a record that Bournemouth will hope to make use of in the second half of their league campaign.
GFFN | Brendan Cox