WHILE there is always a clamour for new signings during the transfer window, keeping hold of key players is arguably a tougher test for Cherries this summer.

So it came as a huge relief at the weekend to see Callum Wilson commit his future once again to the club, signing a new four-year contract.

Now in his prime as a striker, the 27-year-old had agreed to fresh terms only last summer, but the past 12 months have seen his stock continue to rise even higher after breaking into the England squad as well as bagging 14 Premier League goals, his best return in the top flight.

Although Wilson still had plenty of time left to run on his contract, the forward has seen his name linked with moves to various Premier League clubs in recent months.

During the January transfer window Chelsea were reportedly keeping tabs on the former Coventry City man while this summer has seen both West Ham and Everton linked with £35million moves, which could well have seen Wilson earn a pay rise in the process had he switched.

Discussing transfer rumours earlier this year, the frontman told the Evening Standard: “I don’t really read into it too much. When I was younger, you’d listen to it more. Now I’m older, I’m contracted here, I’m enjoying my football so for me that’s obviously going on outside, I let other people talk about that and I just do my talking on the pitch.”

Thankfully for Cherries, Wilson was a man of his word. Having twice battled back from serious knee injuries, the Coventry-born ace, who arrived in Dorset from his hometown team in 2014, is set to spend the best years of his career in red and black.

He has netted 20 goals in a season twice before, in his final year with the Sky Blues in League One and also his first at Cherries as promotion from the Championship was secured in 2014-15. The challenge now is to reach that mark as a Premier League player. Wilson recently admitted he fell just short of the 15-goal target he was aiming for in the top flight during the last campaign, but he did miss eight games due to injury.

If he can maintain his fitness for the whole campaign in 2019-20, there is no reason why Wilson cannot hit that mark and even break the 20-goal barrier across all competitions.

While pre-season friendlies are not the most important fixtures in which to find the net, the England man turned in a virtuoso performance in Cherries’ first game of the summer on Tuesday evening, a 3-2 win over AFC Wimbledon.

The striker led the team out in La Manga as captain and ran the Dons defence ragged throughout his time on the pitch. Having already almost won a penalty following a tangle with goalkeeper Nikola Tzanev, Wilson soon skipped around the stopper and walked the ball into the net to break the deadlock.

He then thumped in a stunning second goal, showing his blistering pace and finishing ability, and came close to completing his hat-trick before being withdrawn at the break.

Some players in the past have been accused of taking their foot off the pedal slightly having secured a new contract. If Tuesday was anything to go by, Wilson is going to be quite the opposite.

With three weeks remaining of the transfer window, focus for Cherries off the pitch now will be on ensuring more of the club’s leading lights are still at Vitality Stadium come the start of the season on August 10. Ryan Fraser remains linked with a switch to Arsenal as his contract enters the final year while Champions League duo Manchester City and Tottenham are reportedly interested in Nathan Ake and David Brooks. All three played key roles against Wimbledon with Fraser netting while both Ake and Brooks provided brilliant assists.

With Wilson’s future secured, if Cherries can also keep hold of that trio, another entertaining season looks on the cards.