AFC Bournemouth to up the ante in bid for Ligue 1 ace

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is going all out in his attempts to bring St Etienne winger Max Gradel back to the south coast.

Former Leicester and Leeds star Gradel, a winner of the African Cup of Nations this year, spent a successful season on loan at Dean Court back in 2007-08, scoring 10 goals in a 38-game spell.

The Ivory Coast international is currently tied to Stade Geoffroy-Guichard until June 2017 and Howe saw a £4m bid rejected earlier this month.

The Cherries gaffer is has not been perturbed, however, and is expected to return with an improved offer this week.

Les Verts are believed to be holding out for a fee closer to the £7m mark and after breaking the club’s transfer record to sign Tyrone Mings for £8m Howe has already shown he is willing to pay top dollar to acquire his targets.

Howe has been steadily assembling a squad he believes can secure Premier League survival, with Southampton’s Artur Boruc, Reading’s Adam Federici and Blackburn’s Joshua King joining Mings as permanent arrivals and Chelsea’s Christian Atsu arriving on loan.

Everton duo Sylvain Distin and Luke Garbutt are expected to arrive on a permanent and loan basis respectively and should Gradel also get his desired move back to England the Cherries odds of 13/2 to finish in the top 10 could soon shorten up.

Dean Court’s first taste of top flight football will come in the shape of the opening day visit of Aston Villa and the Cherries are expected to get off to a wining start, with Ladbrokes pricing the hosts as 5/4 favourites for the win.

Villa are available at 21/10 and the draw is on at 16/5 but with the bookmaker making this game the 3/1 favourite to open the Match of the Day proceedings for 2015-16 it seems excitement is guaranteed in Boscombe.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.