In his 20 years at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger cannot be described as a man who makes mistakes in the transfer market. He signed the likes of Thierry Henry and Patrick Viera for minimal fees, and signed many players who would go on to become key men for his side. He often found the right time to sell players, making a large profit in the process. He may however see new Bournemouth man Benik Afobe, as the one who got away.
Between 2007 and 2010, Afobe was prolific in the Arsenal youth team, scoring 72 goals. This goal scoring form reportedly saw him on the radar of European super club Barcelona before he signed his first professional contract with the Gunners.
Despite the interest from abroad, he never really made a mark at home. Five loan moves to the likes of Huddersfield, Sheffield Wednesday and Bolton would open no doors as he scored only nine league goals in 68 appearances by 2014.
His first real impact came in the first half of the 2014/15 season, when a loan move to MK Dons saw him score 19 goals in 30 games in all competitions, with his finest hour coming against Manchester United in the Capital One Cup, when he scored twice as the Dons ran riot in a 4-0 win.
Bournemouth only made their big money move for the striker though after the Englishman spent a year at Championship side Wolves. In the second half of last season, he scored 13 goals in 21 games, helping form an excellent attacking trio with Bakary Sako and Nouha Dicko.
This season bought about only nine league goals for Afobe, who has lacked the support around him with Sako having joined Crystal Palace and Dicko out injured. This dip in form however hasn’t stopped Eddie Howe spending £10 million to bring him to the south-coast.
In breaking their transfer record, Bournemouth were taking a huge risk in signing Afobe. At the age of 22, he is a player who will undoubtedly score goals in the future, but has never played in the Premier League.
The Cherries clearly have the faith in Afobe, or they would have gone and bought a striker who knew how to score goals in the Premier League. His goal in the win over Norwich proves he can do this however, as he produced a calm finish for his first goal in the top flight of English football.
If he can continue to take his chances for Bournemouth, he could become a one of the league’s most lethal strikers.