Bournemouth has quietly put together a very strong season under first-year manager Andoni Iraola. Having brought the Spanish boss over from Rayo Vallecano in the summer, the Cherries sit 11th in the Premier League table. They are on pace to put together their second-highest finish in club history. Led by players like Dominic Solanke and Lewis Cook, Bournemouth does not have the most glamorous side in the Premier League. Yet, it has pulled off decent results against top clubs, which is a credit to Iraola.

That success with an under-appreciated squad drew interest from several of the top clubs, particularly in Spain. FC Barcelona, before convincing Xavi to stay on with the project, expressed an interest in bringing on Iraola. Then, Athletic Club looked like a major contender to sign Iraola. The Spanish manager had a long career in the Basque Country with Athletic as a right-back.

However, Bournemouth put those moves to bed, at least for now, by signing Iraola to a contract extension. The Spaniard’s original contract at Dean Court was just two years, meaning he had one season after the 2023/24 campaign. However, Bournemouth locked down Iraola for one additional season, keeping him at the club through the 2025/26 season.

Bournemouth success under Andoni Iraola

Bournemouth owner Bill Foley initially took heat for sacking Gary O’Neil, who guided the club to safety last season. In fairness, O’Neil has done well at Wolves this season. Yet, Foley said signing Iraola to an extension has been an overall positive for the club.

“Andoni has made a huge impact since arriving at the club and we are thrilled to agree to this extension,” Foley said. “We have achieved a club-record points tally in the Premier League thanks to a series of excellent performances and results from the team. The players have clearly bought into his footballing philosophy and our supporters have really taken to him.”

The club-record points tally is particularly impressive. Bournemouth’s best finish in the table was ninth in the 2016/17 season as it amassed 46 points. Yet, Bournemouth can surpass 50 points if it wins its final game of the season against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Depending on other results, that could put Bournemouth into the top half of the table at season’s end for the second time ever.

Bournemouth’s best displays under Iraola have come in two runs of form. In November and December, Bournemouth went on a seven-game unbeaten run that saw the club pick up 19 out of 21 points. That included wins on the road against Manchester United, Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest while also knocking off Newcastle. In March, the Cherries climbed the table again with a five-game unbeaten run that included four wins.

On one hand, Bournemouth did spend big in the summer with several singings who cost more than $20 million. However, the club and Iraola did not benefit from those players. Tyler Adams has missed much of the season with injury, while Hamed Traore failed to live up to his lofty transfer fee. If Iraola can get the right players into his side, and they can stay fit, Bournemouth may be a contender to sneak into Europe in the coming seasons.

Bournemouth summer tour to bring Iraola and Cherries to USA

Fans in the United States looking to see Bournemouth and how it plays under Iraola can watch some of the side’s preseason friendlies during its summer tour. Bournemouth scheduled a friendly against Wrexham AFC at Harder Stadium in Santa Barbara, CA, on July 20. Tickets are not on sale yet. Bournemouth will play one additional game against an opponent yet to be determined.