Why Bournemouth should rekindle their interest in Kenny Lala
Back in June, a report from Get French Football News claimed that Bournemouth were interested in making a move for Strasbourg right-back Kenny Lala. However, the Cherries failed to firm up their interest in the Frenchman and nothing really came to fruition.
The full-back department had been identified as a problem area for the Cherries earlier this summer after they conceded as many as 70 goals in the Premier League last term and Eddie Howe’s love for homegrown players meant that Bournemouth splashed the cash to bring in left-back Lloyd Kelly and right-back Jack Stacey from Bristol City and Luton Town respectively.
A new full-back should have been the top priority for the Cherries this summer given that veteran Simon Francis missed large quarters of the previous campaign with a cruciate ligament rupture but Bournemouth’s decision to invest in Stacey took many by surprise, given the 23-year-old’s lack of experience at the highest level.
Stacey has struggled to nail down a regular starting place in Eddie Howe’s plans, with the manager often opting to put his trust in the versatile Adam Smith.
The summer recruit from Luton has made only 3 appearances in the Premier League so far and early signs suggest that he might find it tough to make a big impression at the highest level.
Of course, it’s early days in a 38-game season and in fairness to Stacey, he deserves more chances to prove his worth. But Bournemouth should look at better options in the market if they are to push on under Howe and consolidate on their Premier League status.
With all due respect to the abilities of Adam Smith and Simon Francis, they were mainstays of the club’s backline back in the Championship days but it has been pretty evident from their performances over the past couple of seasons that they are mediocre players at the Premier League level.
To that end, the Cherries should start spreading their net to pluck out players from foreign leagues and reigniting interest in Kenny Lala could work wonders for them.
The 28-year-old Frenchman is still very much in his prime and has been making waves with his consistently impressive performances in the French top-flight.
Lala has carved out a big reputation for himself as one of the most devastating attack-minded full-backs in France and his solid all-round game has earned him plenty of plaudits from fans and pundits alike.
The 28-year-old racked up as many as 5 goals and 9 assists in Ligue 1 last season and he has already hit the ground running this term, scoring once in 7 league appearances.
Noted for his lightning pace and neat footwork, Lala not only has the tackling skills and the defensive awareness to cut out attacks but he also boasts of the attacking attributes of an out-and-out winger.
A willing runner with the ball, the former Valenciennes man has a wonderful passing technique to complement a keen eye for defence-splitting through balls, while his ability to set up goals with his pinpoint crossing from the flanks should make him an incredible asset to Bournemouth’s counter-attacking style of play.
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Furthermore, Lala is also a threat with his accurate deliveries from set-pieces and his ability to score goals with powerful shots from outside the box should add another dimension to the Cherries’ attack.
Hence, it doesn’t really require a rocket scientist to figure out that Kenny Lala would be a massive upgrade on all of Bournemouth’s current right-back options and reigniting interest in the Frenchman would make perfect sense for a number of reasons as far as Eddie How in concerned.