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Transfer Rater: Koulibaly to United, Ake to City

Football Whispers
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 By Will Kent

Jonny Evans and Lewis Dunk among potential Bournemouth targets

It's no secret that Bournemouth's defence needs work. If they want to push on from last year's 16th place finish, dipping into the transfer market is going to be essential.

One asset the squad desperately needs more of is Premier League experience. The release of Sylvain Distin only reinforces this and manager Eddie Howe will be keen to add some fresher know-how to accompany Steve Cook at the back.

Tommy Elphick's departure to Aston Villa only adds to these defensive worries, but where should Howe look to help settle these concerns before the transfer window closes?

Here's a look at some contenders ...

Jonny Evans -- West Brom

One struggle Bournemouth have is signing established stars. Money isn't a huge issue -- as proven by Jordon Ibe's £15 million move to the Cherries -- but the club's stature is.

Howe might arguably be the most promising young manager in England, but he's not the most appealing for big-name players. He's inexperienced at the highest level and hasn't won any serious silverware. The club's stadium capacity of just over 11,000 isn't the most attractive stage either.

These limitations often mean the Cherries are left gambling with unproven talent or with players that are regarded as past their peak, such as Distin last year.

However, a defender who's likely to be unfazed by Bournemouth's small-but-growing image is Evans. The sturdy central defender won the Premier League three times with Manchester United before transferring to West Brom and he helped Northern Ireland to the round of 16 at Euro 2016.

He may take some persuading, but he's a well-versed international level defender who's hitting his peak at 28. Bournemouth should definitely be taking a look.

Ragnar Sigurdsson -- Krasnodar

He's aggressive, strong and a danger at set pieces, as many will remember after his equalising goal in Iceland's 2-1 win over England at Euro 2016.  His performance at the Euros proved he has all the attributes to be successful in England's top flight.

The Krasnodar defender has previously played in the Champions League for Copenhagen and at 30, he has one last big move left and he's unlikely to cost a lot. He'd be worth the risk.

Steven Caulker -- QPR

Unproductive loan spells at Liverpool and Southampton may slightly stain his record, but there's no masking the fact he has the potential to become a Premier League regular. He's young, raw and exactly the type of player Howe likes to sign.

Caulker, 24, represented England at under-19 and under-21 level and under the right management at the right club, he has the tools to succeed. And there's no reason to suggest why Bournemouth don't fit that criteria.

Steven Caulker spent a brief spell on loan at Liverpool in 2015-16.

Lewis Dunk -- Brighton

Like Caulker, Dunk is another typical Howe signing. He's young, athletic and a dangerous aerial threat. He has scored 12 goals over the past two seasons for Brighton -- an impressive return for a central defender.

However, experience is something he doesn't have. Multiple Premier League clubs have shown interest, but whether or not he's at good enough for the highest level won't be decided until a club takes the plunge.

Dunk came through Brighton's academy with Cook and a potential pairing between the two could be massive, even with their minimal top-flight knowledge.

Nedum Onuoha -- QPR

Onuoha possesses plenty of Premier League experience. The 29-year-old spent seven seasons at Manchester City, one at Sunderland and two for Queens Park Rangers, along with two Championship seasons at Loftus Road in between.

With captain Elphick gone, adding another leader along the backline to help the newly appointed skipper Simon Francis wouldn't go amiss. And this criteria suits Onuoha perfectly as he captained QPR last season.

He's young enough and experienced to be a useful asset within Bournemouth's back four.

Will Kent is a freelance journalist who has worked for AFC Bournemouth, ESPN UK and ESPN FC, among others. Twitter: @WillKentSPORT

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