THIS season has seen plenty of Cherries converted to new positions – but could there be further reinvention from Andoni Iraola next season?

Moving players to new positions on the pitch is not a new phenomenon.

AFC Bournemouth supporters of a certain vintage will recall Ian Cox being converted from an attacker into a Rolls-Royce of a defender, for example.

Iraola has found himself having to play his charges out of position to contend with selection issues all season.

Most of this season’s changes have been born out of necessity, but quickly unearthed potential new roles for a host of players.

Ryan Christie looks a new man in the centre of the park, whilst Antoine Semenyo, a natural striker, has never looked more dangerous cutting in from the wing.

But is there further scope for reinventing further members of Cherries’ playing squad?

We have taken a look at a few examples from this campaign, as well as highlighting potential candidates to undergo positional changes in the future.

Successful conversions

Justin Kluivert – Winger -> Number 10

When Kluivert arrived on the south coast, Iraola spoke of the Dutchman’s versatility, stating that he believed the natural winger could operate in any four of the attacking positions.

During a turbulent period of loans, it is perhaps no surprise that Kluivert was tried in a myriad of positions.

But despite previous experiments, it had been established by Valencia, Roma, Nice, RB Leipzig, and Ajax that Kluivert’s best position was on the wing.

In pre-season Kluivert was deployed as a number nine during Cherries’ friendlies, but the real conversion happened later in the season.

Whilst an injury crisis prevents Iraola from saying the same at the moment, the head coach had a plethora of wingers available to him at the beginning of the campaign.

What Iraola did not have was a number 10 perfectly suited to his style of play, an attacking midfielder able to press and make the correct runs off the ball, as well as identify and find his teammates when they made similar moves.

Kluivert’s pace, dribbling ability, and decision making made him the top candidate to drop into the hole.

The Ajax academy product’s move to the 10 coincided with Cherries' surge in form, cementing Kluivert as first choice in the position.

Ryan Christie – Number 10 -> Central midfield

Bournemouth Echo:

Ryan Christie briefly started the campaign in that number 10 role, before it was decided he was far more effective further back.

Christie proved he has creative chops in the Championship, where he was often tasked with constructing the latter half of attacking moves under Scott Parker.

But clearly his work rate is too big a miss in the middle of the park, partly leading to Kluivert’s redeployment.

Although occupying similar roles and tasks on the pitch, moving deeper into midfield is not an easy task.

Just look at Christie’s midfield teammate Joe Rothwell at the start of the campaign.

More attack-minded, Rothwell struggled further back, especially in defensive situations. Once the axis between Lewis Cook and Christie was formed, there was little chance for Rothwell to get back into the side.

Dango Ouattara - Winger -> Left-back

Still a work in progress, Dango Ouattara has been somewhat of a revelation since being moved to left-back.

We saw flashes of the Burkinabe’s quality last season, a raw talent that needed nurturing in a Premier League environment.

Again Ouattara was largely reduced to frequent but short appearances off the bench, one of Iraola’s options out wide.

But an injury crisis at left-back has seen the Burkina Faso international moulded into a decent defender, strong enough to get by.

Ouattara appears to be an extremely fast learner. Take for example, his battle with Arsenal star Bukayo Saka at the weekend.

Early on Arsenal frequently looked to exploit Ouattara, but as the game went on, the former FC Lorient man grew in confidence and came out relatively unscathed.

Potential conversions

Marcus Tavernier – Winger -> Left-back

Bournemouth Echo:

Tavernier has played as wing-back before, at previous club Middlesbrough, and reportedly that was the plan when Cherries brought the Leeds-born man to Vitality Stadium under Scott Parker.

Before we could see what Parker had thought up, there was a managerial change, with Tavernier featuring as a winger under O’Neil last term.

But the concept has not been entirely forgotten.

Iraola has made mention to Tavernier being another option at left-back, although his current hamstring injury has taken him out of the equation.

We briefly saw the 25-year-old in defence during Cherries’ FA Cup triumph away at Queens Park Rangers when Ouattara, Lloyd Kelly, and Milos Kerkez were all injured.

Tavernier’s coach frequently talks about the defensive work rate he has as a winger, with Iraola often opting to play the former Middlesbrough man instead of in-form teammates due to the balance Tavernier brings to Cherries.

Milos Kerkez – Left-back -> Winger

We’ve had wingers convert to left-back, so how about a left-back moving further forward?

Cherries’ injuries have seemed to move around the pitch this season, with different positions impacted by several issues.

Once the left-backs had recovered, it was the wingers who were next to be impacted, leading Iraola resorting to playing Milos Kerkez on the wing against Manchester United.

The Hungarian loves to bomb forward from full-back, and whilst the youngster is full-blooded in the tackle, sometimes his tracking back leaves a little to be desired.

By alleviating some of his defensive duties, perhaps Cherries can get the best of both worlds out of Kerkez.

Dominic Solanke – Striker -> Number 10

Another example that we have seen on the pitch this season has been Dominic Solanke dropping back and playing at the 10.

Seeing Solanke deeper in his own half against Brighton probably brought back memories of the striker under Parker, where the one-time England international was so pivotal in constructing moves.

Last season under O’Neil those aspects to Solanke’s game remained, the forward dropping deep to either win the ball back or help get his team up the pitch.

It is a strength of Solanke, although Iraola has tried to channel this work rate into pressing the opposition’s backline and goal.

Of course, moving Solanke further away from the goal seems counterproductive after a breakthrough Premier League campaign that has seen the former Liverpool man rack up 18 goals in the top-flight.

But bringing Solanke deeper allows Cherries to play Eres Unal in front of him, bolstering their firepower.

Perhaps not a permanent conversion, but a useful option that could be established when Cherries are chasing games.

David Brooks – Winger -> Number 10

When Cherries allowed David Brooks to join Southampton on loan in January, they made it abundantly clear that the Welshman remained in their plans.

It was hoped that a spell of regular game time would bring the Wales international back to his best, allowing Brooks to return to Cherries in the summer and hit the ground running.

At the start of the season Brooks was handed multiple opportunities on the right wing, but it didn’t quite click for the former Manchester City man under Iraola.

Of course, there are clear reasons to why Brooks is not the player he once was, with no one more aware of the fact than the 26-year-old.

But perhaps a change of position on the pitch could spark a change in fortunes for Brooks.

Just like Kluivert, Brooks possess the technical qualities needed to play at the 10, as well as the attacking nous needed to be clinical in counter-attacking scenarios.

It is not a position foreign to Brooks, having played more centrally for his country over the years.

Brooks has also sparingly featured in the hole for Cherries over the years, but a concentrated run of games in the role may just be his way into Iraola’s first team plans.

Bournemouth Echo:

Jaidon Anthony – Winger -> Full-back

Jaidon Anthony is another winger out on loan in the Championship, about to head into the same play-off campaign as David Brooks, albeit with Leeds United.

At the start of the season Iraola appeared keen on the winger, but Cherries opted to use Anthony as collateral in order to bring Luis Sinisterra to the club.

Bournemouth have since signed Sinisterra permanently, with Anthony set to return to Dean Court this summer at the expiry of his loan.

Last season we saw glimpses of the Jamaica-eligible winger’s versatility, O’Neil at times dropping Anthony back into defence as a wing-back.

It does not seem far-fetched to suggest that rather than Ouattara dropping back to full-back we would have seen Anthony as the stand-in.

The 24-year-old is always willing to track back and is trusted defensively, add by adding the ability to play in another position to his CV could boost his chances of game time next campaign.