Cherries: Howe closing in on first summer deals
CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe has revealed he is closing in on his first summer signings but admits his squad is unlikely to be finalised until late July. Howe is understood to have had talks with several possible targets as he looks to bolster his resources ahead of Cherries' new campaign in League One. But while he hopes to unveil some of his new recruits in the next few weeks, he also anticipates having to wait until the latter stages of pre-season to secure others. Howe told the Daily Echo: We wanted to get most of our dealings concluded early and have been busy since the season finished. We have been talking terms with people and working on trying to finalise negotiations. The search for players is going well. Even though we were under an embargo, we always kept an eye on who was out there and went to watch lots of games. We knew which players were available and the ones we liked. We have made efforts to contact the appropriate people and have been working on trying to bring them in. We have identified the players we wanted and are now starting to close in on those players. Hopefully, some of them will be announced in the not too distant future. While we will have a strong basis of a squad at the start of pre-season, we will probably need to finish it off just before the season starts. Although Howe has made it clear he will not be commenting on transfer speculation, the rumour mill has already linked him with several players. Former Dean Court favourite Steve Purches and loan star Rhoys Wiggins are believed to be among his defensive targets, while Howe's brother Stevie Lovell could also be on his short-list. Other possible strikers could include Northampton's Bayo Akinfenwa, Leon McKenzie from Charlton, Peterborough's Scott Rendell and Tadgh Purcell, who impressed for relegated Darlington last season. And having unearthed Mark Molesley, Anton Robinson and Liam Feeney and been scuppered in his attempts to sign Charlie Austin from Poole Town, the non-league ranks are another avenue Howe could pursue. Howe added: I don't like to speak about things until they are done for various reasons. You can easily scupper potential deals and alert other clubs if you discuss prematurely which players you are keen to sign. I just prefer to keep things quiet until we can announce them on a professional basis. Asked about his squad numbers in general, Howe replied: I think we need a slightly bigger squad than we had last season. Sometimes in training we didn't have enough bodies and we certainly need a few more just to add strength in depth. We are going into a tougher league so are going to need a few more choices in terms of team selection. I would like a slightly bigger squad but not too big. Howe did confirm he had been tracking Swansea striker Besian Idrizaj, who died suddenly at the weekend. It is thought the 22-year-old died in his sleep while at home with his family in Austria of a suspected heart attack.
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