Manchester United have been tipped to complete a summer deal for Joshua King – after a big development swung factors in their favour.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side desperately scrambled around to find themselves a new centre forward on deadline day in January and were strongly linked with King.
Their somewhat scatter-gun approach also saw the likes of Edinson Cavani, Danny Ings, Islam Slimani, Dries Mertens, Salomon Rondon and – perhaps most bizarrely – Adolfo Gaich all mentioned as United targets. They eventually got lucky with minutes remaining to land former Watford man Odion Ighalo.
While that deal has worked out well, United could well go back in for King following Bournemouth’s relegation from the Premier League.
King has a year left on his Bournemouth deal and both club and player have a decision to make this summer.
Now Norway assistant coach Per Joar Hansen has advised the 28-year-old to consider a move away.
“Now it’s like that in football that he has to think about whether he wants to be relegated or whether it’s time to move,” Hansen told Dagbladet.
“He has been there for five years now and has shown that he is a very good Premier League player. I doubt that he wants to go down one level, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
King may have seen his hopes of a move to Old Trafford evaporate on deadline day in January. But his hopes have been rekindled now after the attacker changed agents to Jim Solbakken. The Norwegian also happens to look after the affairs of United boss Solskjaer.
And Hansen, via Sport Witness, reckons that link could seriously help King’s prospects of returning to his former club.
“The link to United is strong. King has played there as an academy player,” Hansen added. “His former coach in the reserve team is now head coach of the club. He’s also got himself a new agent in Jim Solbakken, who is also Solskjaer’s agent.
“You should never say never. Ole Gunnar knows Josh well from the reserve team, and he has contributed to his development. In addition, Josh knows well what United stands for. But we’re not going to get bogged down in it, it’s just speculation.”
King discusses United near miss
United will need reinforcements ahead of their return to the Champions League next season. On Monday they were linked with a triple transfer deal, but a move for King would make plenty of sense.
Speaking about the failed move in January, King said: “How close it was I have no complete answer to. I have to watch what I say.
“I had some faith that it was going to happen. And it was a bit sensitive for me considering that I moved to England as a 16-year-old to achieve my dream and wanted to reach that goal at Manchester United.”
He also admits a return to the club where it all began for him would have been extra special.
“When you hear that you are connected to United and a bid comes in, then the feelings you had as a 16-year-old come back to you,” he added.
“But why it did not happen, I do not know. I’m a Bournemouth player and I really enjoy it here. But it had been a dream come true, I will not lie.
“That didn’t happen and I’m going to give everything to Bournemouth as long as I’m in this club.
“The coach [Eddie Howe] was absolutely fantastic with me during those days and was very helpful with me. I have respect for how he behaved with me during the little episode.”