Jefferson Lerma insists he is almost ready for his Bournemouth debut, despite sitting out Saturday’s Premier League opener.
Colombia midfielder Lerma joined Bournemouth from Levante in a club-record £25million deal this week, but will miss the Cherries’ Dean Court clash with Cardiff this weekend.
Boss Eddie Howe has said record signing Lerma must go through a mini pre-season – that could take as long as a month – before being let loose on England’s top flight.
But Lerma believes he will be ready far sooner than that, targeting Bournemouth’s Premier League trip to West Ham on August 18 for a possible debut.
“I think I’ll be ready to play by the next game,” said Lerma, eyeing the Cherries’ trip to the London Stadium to make his first appearance in English football.
“It’s a big moment in my life to be here. I’m very excited, very happy.
“I’ve had one training session so far and I think I did well and impressed. I’ve spoken with the boss, so I’ll just carry on working hard to get my chance to play.
“I’m very passionate about the game and coming here. We’ll take it game by game and just keep trying to get better.”
Lerma has been compared to France World Cup-winner N’Golo Kante in terms of his game-breaking qualities. And the 23-year-old admitted he loves to win the ball and then launch fast breaks.
“I look up to try to counter-attack,” said Lerma. “I’m quite strong and recover the ball very well, and I’m a good passer of the ball.”
Bournemouth boss Howe will give Lerma as long as he needs to find full match fitness, remaining unfazed about when the record recruit will take to the field.
“Jefferson’s only had one training session with us,” said Howe, of Lerma.
“He’s come to us off the back of not training after the World Cup so that will be an issue for us, in the sense we’ve got to build up his fitness and help him acclimatise to the team and the squad.
“So there may be a period where people don’t see him, but we want to get him up to speed.
“I’m sure there’s other players who were at the World Cup who won’t play this weekend. The difficulty for us is that Jefferson just hasn’t trained.
“So to involve him ahead of players who have played a full pre-season would be foolish.
“So we’ve got to make sure that when J steps onto the field he’s ready to play at his best level, so we’ll do some work with him behind the scenes.
” We would never tell a player to miss the whole of pre-season then step up and play. It’s just not going to happen. So we’ll take our time with him and make sure he’s right.”
Having returned from the World Cup to intense speculation about his happiness under manager Jose Mourinho, the France midfielder was named skipper of a side that included debutant Fred.
Recent United target Harry Maguire lined up in defence for visitors Leicester, who had England striker Jamie Vardy on the bench as James Maddison and Ricardo Pereira made their debuts.
Silva returned to former club Watford to make the 21-year-old his first signing in a £40million deal in late July.
That drew some scrutiny as the player scored just five times in 41 appearances in his one season at Vicarage Road and did not find the net after late November.
But Silva said there were similar noises a year ago when Everton spent £30m on a then 23-year-old Jordan Pickford – who subsequently went on to become England’s first-choice goalkeeper at the World Cup.
“I can speak to you about what happened one year ago when we took Jordan Pickford and everyone was talking about it at that moment,” said the Portuguese ahead of the trip to Premier League newcomers Wolves.
“Now no-one is talking about his value. The value the club paid to take him here is normal in football. The market now is really difficult.
“If the player will perform well and do the best to achieve our goals at the end no-one will speak about the price.”
Everton were busy on deadline day, signing three players in forward Bernard, a free agent, and Barcelona duo Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes.
The Toffees will pay a total of £28.5million (£27.2m up front with a further £1.3m in add-ons) after the Colombia centre-back signed a five-year contract, with Gomes joining on a season-long loan which does not have an option to buy.
None of the trio will be considered for the trip to Molineux but Silva is happy with their summer business, which also saw Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma – twice capped by France – join on loan for the season on Friday.
“Before we start to talk about the new players (it was) fantastic support from the owner (Farhad Moshiri), the chairman (Bill Kenwright) and Marcel (Brands, director of football),” he added.
“They tried to do everything to sign new players for us and we sold some players and sent some on loan. We are happy with the players who stayed in the squad and the players we bring in.”
Zouma spent last season on loan at Stoke and has made 71 appearances for Chelsea, without ever making a regular spot his own.
Silva is still looking to offload a number of players before the transfer window closes in the rest of Europe, but one who he does not want to lose is Ademola Lookman.
The 20-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at RB Leipzig and the Bundesliga side are keen to sign him on a permanent basis, but the Toffees boss is determined not to let that happen.
“Of course he is in my plans. He is an important player for us, he is a good player with good talent,” said the Toffees boss.
“He went on loan and improved and was happy there and now is our moment to make him happy here and to improve his qualities as he is our present and future.”