Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has left the club by mutual consent after their relegation from the Premier League.

The 42-year-old led the Cherries in more than 450 games across two spells spanning more than a decade.

The Englishman, who leaves after talking to club officials on Saturday, said he believes it is “the right time for the club to have a change”.

Bournemouth’s five-year stay in the top flight ended despite a 3-1 win at Everton on the final day of the season.

“Having spent a total of 25 years with the club as both a player and a manager, this decision – made together with the club – is one of the hardest I’ve ever had to make,” said Howe in an open letter to fans.

“However, although the affection and love I have for this football club will always remain, we collectively feel that now is the right time for the club to go in a new direction.

“Bournemouth will always be in my heart, but I firmly believe now is the right time for the club to have a change.”

Bournemouth had risen from League Two to become an established Premier League team under Howe, who guided them to three promotions in six seasons.

But they lost 22 of their 38 games to finish 18th in the table, one point from safety, and return to the Championship after five seasons in the Premier League.

A number of big-money signings have not worked out for the Cherries in the manner Howe will have hoped for.

Winger Jordon Ibe, who cost £15m from Liverpool in 2016, played only two league games in 2019-20, and striker Dominic Solanke – who arrived in a £19m deal from the Anfield club in 2019 – managed three league goals in 32 games.

The south coast club also suffered with injuries, not least experienced defender Charlie Daniels being ruled out for the season in August 2019 and promising winger David Brooks requiring two operations that saw him miss the majority of the campaign.

Cherries chief executive Neill Blake said Howe was a Bournemouth legend who has helped “transform the identity and history of the club”.

He said the decision to part company was “even harder given our close personal friendship”.

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