Surman, 36, left Cherries in the summer of 2020 following relegation from the Premier League, having made 226 appearances for the club across two spells, scoring 11 goals. He retired from professional football in 2021 and in January of this year returned to Cherries, taking up a role as under-18s assistant manager. Central midfielder Surman made 13 appearances alongside Lerma during the pair’s crossover at Cherries, under Eddie Howe. The Colombian, who is the club’s record £25million signing, is set to leave on a free transfer this summer as his five-year contract expires. Asked if Cherries need to find a direct replacement for the 28-year-old, or if the likes of Joe Rothwell and Lewis Cook can plug the gap,

Andrew Surman said: “Obviously he got me out the team, so I can’t say too much! No, I’m only joking. I think they need to replace him, 100 per cent. I think Rothwell is a really, really good player and Lewis Cook is proven over the years. But I don’t think you can underestimate the physicality of the Premier League. Losing a player like Jefferson Lerma, you have to replace the physicality side of that. You look at someone like (Romeo) Lavia at Southampton, physicality, gets you up the pitch, puts tackles in, he’s all-action. I think that’s what they’re going to need, especially strength in depth wise, because you’re relying on those two midfielders. If one of those gets injured, then you’re looking at it going ‘who is going to step up and play in there?’ I think they need to replace him with a physical asset. It’s a shame that he’s leaving, because I think he’s a really good player, Jeff.”

Lerma leaves having made 184 appearances for Cherries, with Crystal Palace his reported next destination.

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