Premier League new boys AFC Bournemouth have signed Ivory Coast international Max Gradel on a four-year deal.
Gradel, 27, spent a spell on loan at the Vitality Stadium back in 2007 and the former Leeds United and Leicester City winger, who can also play up front, joins Bournemouth from Ligue 1 side St Etienne.
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Last season was a breakout year for Gradel as he was St Etienne’s top scorer with 17 goals, while he has also played 41 times for the Ivory Coast and has scored eight times for Les Elephants.
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His pace, trickery and direct nature will no doubt cause plenty of problems for PL defenses and here’s what Gradel had to say to Bournemouth’s website about deciding to return to England after four years in France.
“Not many people will understand why I came to Bournemouth. I had offers for more money and bigger clubs but in football you have to go where you will be happy,” Gradel said. “There were other options, like to play Champions League football in Russia, but I decided to come here because I like Eddie a lot. He’s always been there for me so it’s a big honor to now come and play for him. Of course he’s a good manager but on top of that he’s a good person and we have a good relationship. I trust him and I am looking forward to working with him.”
The Cherries have now made eight new signings this summer, with Gradel joining Tyrone Mings, Adam Federici, Sylvain Distin, Joshua King, Artur Boruc, Christian Atsu and Filippo Costa as the new boys.
With Russian billionaire Maxim Denim bankrolling Bournemouth’s climb up through the lower leagues, it’s safe to say the Cherries want to make sure their first-ever season in the Premier League isn’t a one-hit wonder and they can establish themselves in England’s top-flight. Gradel may be the man to deliver the goals that keeps the south coast club in the PL.