By Wayne Veysey

11th Jan, 2016 | 10:42am

Wenger dismisses idea that Arsenal academy graduate is a risky purchase

By Tony Hughes

Arsene Wenger is convinced that Arsenal academy graduate Benik Afobe is a good value buy for Bournemouth.

The south coast club smashed their transfer record on Sunday to sign the striker in a £10million deal after agreeing a fee with Wolves on Friday for the front man.

This comes after Afobe, 22, left Arsenal for just £1.8million 12 months ago after failing to play a single match for theie first team.

“I believe it’s a normal price. £10million is not excessive,” said Wenger at his media conference on Monday morning. “He’s scored the goals in the lower league. The risk is not too much.

“I don’t know how well he’ll do at Bournemouth, but he has the qualities to integrate at a team like Bournemouth.

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“I’m very pleased he has done well; he had an outstanding attitude here and I hope he does well there. I’m very happy because we have contributed to his success.”

Cherries manager Eddie Howe has pencilled Afobe in to make his debut in Tuesday’s Premier League clash against West Ham.

Howe had made a proven forward a priority signing in the January transfer window after losing Callum Wilson for the season with a torn cruciate ligament.

Afobe has not been a regular starter at Molineux in recent weeks but has scored 10 goals this season, including nine in the league and 23 in 48 matches since joining the club from Arsenal.

Speaking on Sunday, the Bournemouth manager said: “We think he is a very good player. He played well and scored against us for Wolves last season and I was aware of him during his time at Arsenal. We have tracked his performances over a long period of time.

“He is quick, strong and scores goals. He is young and progressive. I think there is a lot more to come from him so he really does fit our mould in terms of the players we look to sign.
“He is an AFC Bournemouth-type signing and this is a logical step for him and us.”

Howe has moved swiftly for Afobe in a bid to fend off competition from Norwich. Wolves feared the forward would be leaving in January after Norwich had a succession of bids rejected in the summer, which prompted Bournemouth to make a big push.

The deal for Afobe has topped the club’s previous transfer record, the £8million paid out for Tyrone Mings when he joined from Ipswich last June.

He is Howe’s second signing of the month after he captured Argentine winger Juan Iturbe on loan from Roma until the end of the season.