Benik Afobe is finally going to get his Premier League shot

benik-afobe

Former Arsenal youth product Benik Afobe has joined Premier League side Bournemouth from Wolverhampton in a deal reportedly worth £10 million.  The 22-year-old striker has been one of the top forwards in the second-tiered Championship since departing Arsenal during the 2014-15 campaign.  Taking into account his loan move to MK Dons for the first half of the 2014-15 season, Afobe has netted an impressive 42 goals over the last 18 monthss.

Afobe arrived at Arsenal at the age of six and progressed through the youth ranks with current Gunners star Jack Wilshere, both youngsters joining during the same year.  When Afobe was 17, he signed his first professional contract with the Gunners despite reported interest from Barcelona.  While the former England youth international spent 14 years as an Arsenal player, he never make a senior appearance for the north London club (although he did feature in the 2011 Emirates Cup).

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger recently praised his former player upon news of Afobe making the switch to Bournemouth.

“He has the qualities to integrate into a team like Bournemouth, whose game is based on movement, pace and quick football,” stated Wenger.  “I must say I am very happy for Benik because he had an outstanding attitude here and I am very pleased he has done well.”

Wenger then addressed the idea that he may have let Afobe leave Arsenal too early.

“It is a good opportunity for him and I hope he will be successful there.  Sometimes you have to let people go who are not completely ready for us, knowing that they could be successful.”  Wenger said.  “I am very happy because we have contributed to his success and I hope he will have a long, good career.”

Bournemouth appear to be a great fit  for the former Gunner.  The Cherries play very appealing soccer but have been without their top striker, Callum Wilson, since the end of September due to a serious knee injury.  Glenn Murray has only scored three goals so far this season, and only one since Halloween.  Fellow striker Joshua King has managed two goals during the current campaign.  With only five goals between Bournemouth’s go-to striking duo since Wilson went down, the addition of Afobe should be a perfect match.

Along with Afobe, Bournemouth have also secured a loan deal for winger Juan Iturbe from Italian side Roma.  The Cherries are currently four points above the relegation zone and will look for both Afobe and Iturbe to help guide them to safety this season.

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