Benik Afobe – Transfer Report
Posted by Kieran Cross | Published on February 19, 2016
In the latest transfer window Bournemouth broke the bank to sign young English striker Benik Afobe from Wolves for an estimated £10 million, a club record fee. The tall forward has an incredible record at Championship level, but what can Bournemouth fans expect from their new hero?
During his youth career, Benik made his debut for Arsenal’s Reserve team at the young age of 16 and went on to score a phenomenal 20 goals in 13 appearances for Arsenal Under-18s. In 2010 Benik was part of the England Under-17s squad that won the Under-17s European Championship. His impressive goal scoring record at youth level led to Benik signing a professional deal at Arsenal, although he never made a competitive appearance for the Premier League giants.
After making the jump from youth football to professional level, Benik spent loan spells at various clubs before he signed permanently for Wolves in January 2015. He impressed in the Championship and in January of 2016 signed for Bournemouth for a club record fee estimated between 10 and 12 million pounds. Benik has made an impressive start to his career at Bournemouth, scoring 3 times in 5 appearances so far. His first Bournemouth goal came in a 3-0 demolition of Norwich City at Dean Court. He then went on to score a vital goal away at Sunderland before clinching a winner away at Crystal Palace.
But for Bournemouth fans that know little about the forward’s style of play, what can we expect on the pitch from Benik? .One of Benik’s best qualities is his ability to hold up the ball. Because of his height and physical strength he can hold off any defenders easily and bring the midfield players and other forwards into play which fits well with Bournemouth’s attacking style of play and compliments the attacking mentality of Bournemouth’s midfielders. His height also makes him a huge threat at set pieces and crosses from wide areas, which is a great option for a team with such quality in wide areas. For a big man he also possesses incredible pace which gives the team the option to play the ball over the top of defences that are pushed high up the pitch. Throughout his career he has also become well known as a clinical finisher as well as a composed penalty taker. However, his young age and lack of Premier League experience does sometimes show in his decision making and he is still growing accustomed to Bournemouth’s style of passing play.
In terms of statistics, Benik’s record is incredible, especially for someone of his young age. Benik has made 88 league starts spanning 8 different clubs, including MK Dons, Wolves and Bournemouth. He has also made 53 league appearances coming off of the bench. In this time he has scored a total of 44 goals, an impressive statistic, especially so early in his career. This gives him a goal to appearance ratio of about 1 goal every 3 appearances. He has also made 9 FA Cup appearances, scoring 3 goals, as well as 7 League Cup appearances in which he has scored 8 goals, most notably including a brace against Manchester United in MK Dons’s famous 4-0 demolition of the Premier League side.
Overall, I have definitely been impressed with what I have seen from Benik so far. One of the most important things is that he has already developed a good relation with the fans and appears to have fitted seamlessly into a tight knit dressing room. I feel that alongside Callum Wilson we have a young, strong partnership that can bang the goals in for many years to come, hopefully in the Premier League. In Benik we have a striker that will convert a high percentage of chances, something that is 100% required to stay in the Premier League, and something that several teams in and around the relegation zone may be missing. The number of goals that Benik can score between now and the end of the season will have a massive say in which teams stay up and which go down, especially with so many big games in the run in against relegation rivals.