CHERRIES had eight players out on loan in professional leagues in the second half of last season who are set to return to the club over the summer, before their longer term futures are resolved.

To get an insight into how each of them performed during their time away from Dorset, we have spoken with some people who have seen them in action first hand for their loan clubs.

We are splitting this loan report feature up into two parts, one looking at the four players who competed in the Championship, with the other focusing on the quartet in the lower leagues or in different countries.

And it is the second group of four we will start with.

Hamed Traore joined Napoli in the winter (Image: Richard Crease)


10th in Serie A

11 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists, 483 mins played

It seems a long time ago now, but there was some growing frustration and a clamour from Cherries fans to see more of Hamed Traore.

But he never really fitted into Andoni Iraola’s system and was moved on to Napoli in January.

He featured twice in the Champions League, against Barcelona, but struggled to make a big impact as Napoli struggled in the Italian top flight.

To get more information on Traore’s spell in Italy, we spoke to Pierluigi Granata, who writes about Napoli for the Toni Iavarone blog.

How would you assess Hamed Traore’s time on loan at Napoli?

The six months that Traore spent at Napoli were rather disappointing.

This season, it was admittedly challenging to perform well at Napoli, as the team, fresh off winning the championship, faced numerous difficulties with three coaching changes.

Under Walter Mazzarri, Traore seemed to be more integrated into the game plans, especially when the team played a 4-3-3 formation, where he often replaced Piotr Zielinski as a left central midfielder, since Zielinski had signed with Inter for the end of the season.

What did the fans think when Traore was signed and what do they think of him now?

The signing of Traore was initially well received by Napoli fans, as he enjoyed a good reputation in Italy from his time at Sassuolo and was considered quite versatile, able to play as both a left central midfielder and a left winger in a 4-3-3.

However, he is now remembered mainly for an excellent performance in a victory against Juventus. Currently, he has not left a good impression among Napoli fans, largely due to his mere nine league appearances and one yellow card.

Was Traore’s lack of game-time down to fitness problems or performance levels?

I believe Traore's lack of game-time was primarily due to the arrival of the third coach of the season, Francesco Calzona, who did not see Traore as a key player for the team.

While Calzona cited physical issues as the reason, the truth is he didn't find Traore suitable for his style of play, preferring Jens Cajuste and Frank Anguissa.

In my opinion, Traore would have been a better fit alongside Anguissa, being more offensive. This season, Napoli's midfield has only contributed two goals, which is quite low for a team of their calibre.

Napoli have an option to buy Traore this summer. Do you think they will want him back next season?

No, I don't believe Napoli will exercise the option to buy Traore for several reasons.

Firstly, his poor performance over these months, and secondly, the transfer fee of 25million euros is excessive considering his contributions.

Most importantly, with Antonio Conte's arrival, who prefers a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation, I don't see Traore fitting into the new setup.

Will Dennis had a breakthrough season in Scotland (Image: PA)


4th in Scottish Premiership

44 appearances, 18 clean sheets, 3,944 mins played

Having previously been restricted to non-league loan spells, Dennis made the jump up to the Scottish top-flight and nailed down the number one spot.

He helped Killie seal a spot in Europe in a standout season.

To find out just how good the goalkeeper has been, we asked Callum Carson, of the Kilmarnock Standard.

How would you sum up Will Dennis’s loan spell at Kilmarnock?

Overall very impressive and consistently good, also clearly improved as the season went on.

There were a few mistakes and baffling moments, more than once being caught out racing from goal, but I think his spell went about as well as anyone could realistically have hoped for.

A good shot-stopper, good distribution and good command of his area, but certainly with the odd moment here and there that he'll want to forget.

Kilmarnock had a fine season, qualifying for Europe. How important was Dennis in that?

Massively important. The fact he started 36 of the 38 games is proof that he took his chance and continued to earn his place in the team through his performances.

Killie finished fourth, their second best finish since the late 1960s, and had the fourth best defensive record of which he was a huge part.

They didn't score many (46 in 38 games) so the pressure was definitely on defensively and both he and the rest of the defensive unit more than stood up to the task.

Do you think he could be ready to feature for Bournemouth in the Premier League next season?

It's a massive step from the Scottish Premiership to the Premier League and I'm not sure he's quite at that stage yet.

There's certainly still a bit of roughness around the edges but he handled games against Rangers and Celtic relatively well (conceded only five in his four games against Celtic with Kieran O'Hara stepping in during the 5-0 loss at the end of the season).

Could he be part of the squad and step in for a few games if needed? Probably, but I'd imagine his development would be better served playing every week at a lower level.

If he were available, would Kilmarnock and the fans like to see Dennis return this summer?

Absolutely. Derek McInnes the manager has already said he'd be keen to bring him back and I can't imagine there's many fans who would be disappointed about that if it were to happen.

They have relied on loan keepers the past few seasons and at some point I'd imagine they'll want to have a number one that is their own player, but a return for Dennis would be welcomed by probably everyone at the club.

Gavin Kilkenny suffered relegation with FleetwoodGavin Kilkenny suffered relegation with Fleetwood (Image: Richard Crease)


22nd in League One

16 appearances, 1 goal, 2 assists, 1,196 mins played

Gavin Kilkenny drove straight from London to Fleetwood on transfer deadline day in February, having been an unused substitute for Cherries for a Premier League game against West Ham United.

His career now appears at a bit of a crossroads, as the 24-year-old heads into the final year of his contract at Vitality Stadium, on the back of a loan spell which ended in relegation from League One.

Ben Knapman, of Cods Vlogs, gives us the inside track on Kilkenny’s time in Lancashire.

How would you sum up Gavin Kilkenny’s loan spell at Fleetwood?

I thought Gavin was, in most games, quite effective and looked sharp and looked like he could create. Sometimes he was either a 9/10 or a 5/10, but he was a young lad in a struggling team. As the season went on he got better, I felt.

What did fans think when Kilkenny was signed at the end of the transfer window and did he live up to those expectations?

I expected a player that could play, could create, good with his feet and we got that. He hadn’t had much experience but we gave him that and he will learn and be a better player because of it.

From what you have seen, could Kilkenny have a role to play with Bournemouth in the Premier League, or could it be time for him to seek a move elsewhere?

He’s very naturally gifted I feel another League Two or League One move would be the best thing now, get around 40-45 games in and see how he does. Game-time is vital for him at this stage of his career now.

Probably Wigan at home he was effective in a couple of the goals, made forward runs and looked like a level above.

If he were to be available, would Fleetwood and the fans be happy if Kilkenny were to return to the club this summer?

I would absolutely take him, a level down from where I feel he belongs. We know what he can do, he seemed settled and happy here, so would absolutely love to bring him back to the football club.

Daniel Adu-Adjei got his first taste of EFL experienceDaniel Adu-Adjei got his first taste of EFL experience (Image: TGS PHOTO)


11th in League One

10 appearances, 1 goal, 0 assists, 227 mins played

Having been prolific in the Professional Development League, teenager Daniel Adu-Adjei was given a big opportunity for a chance of League One football.

His match minutes were limited, starting just twice, but he did bag his first senior goal on the final day of the season against Shrewsbury Town.

Adu-Adjei has just signed a new contract at Cherries, having been named academy player of the year.

We asked Steve Nussbaum, of the Outlook Orient Podcast, about the young striker’s time in east London.

How would you sum up Daniel Adu-Adjei’s loan spell at Leyton Orient?

Considering this was Daniel’s first loan spell at EFL level, I think he’s done fairly well.

He probably didn’t get as much match-time as he would have liked, but he showed us glimpses that he could be a decent player.

He made his debut and an impact in the game of the season (our home win against Northampton Town 4-3 where we scored a last-minute winner), and capped it off on the final day of the season with his first goal for the club.

What did the fans think when Adu-Adjei was signed and did he live up to those expectations?

It was a strange end to the transfer window at the O’s. The fans all knew we needed a striker, and then we signed two untried youngsters from Arsenal (Khayon Edwards) and AFC Bournemouth, which left us feeling a little disappointed. However, video reels for both players and their stats at youth level did leave us fairly excited.

What was the main reason behind Adu-Adjei’s limited game-time – his own performances, or performances of others in his position?

Mainly down to performances of others mostly and the fact that Richie Wellens plays a 4-3-3 formation where Dan was mostly used in the central position in attack, which is a sought after spot with plenty of competition.

With all that in mind, is there any chance Orient could try and bring Adu-Adjei back next season or in the future? Do you feel he is ready for League One level?

Potentially now that O’s legend Matt Harrold is at AFC Bournemouth, I certainly think there will be further loan dealings at the club.

I think if Daniel came back he’d once again be restricted to appearances from the bench in what is a very strong League One in 2024-25.

He could do a job at League One level, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing for his development if he ended up in League Two for the season, but making more starts to gain experience. 

(Stats via

Check back to our website early next week for expert insights into Cherries’ four Championship loanees David Brooks, Joe Rothwell, Kieffer Moore and Jaidon Anthony, who were all vying for promotion.