Joshua King was one of the surprise packages in the Premier League last season, as his 16 goals helped Eddie How’s Bournemouth to the highest finish in their history. The Norway international benefited from an unfortunate knee injury to Callum Wilson to become Eddie Howe’s first-choice frontman.
King repaid his manager’s faith with a string of scintillating performances that yielded goals galore after the turn of the year, including a hat-trick in the Cherries’ 3-2 victory over West Ham United.
Unsurprisingly, King’s exploits attracted much media attention and with the transfer window now open, his is a name that regularly features in the gossip columns. According to the Mirror, the former Manchester United striker is interesting Tottenham Hotspur, as Mauricio Pochettino looks to strengthen his attacking weaponry.
Spurs have relied heavily on back-to-back Golden Boot winner Harry Kane in the past couple of campaigns. Vincent Janssen has failed to make the grade as his understudy, following a move to White Hart Lane last year.
Bournemouth are understandably desperate to keep hold of King, who signed for the club in the summer of 2015 from Blackburn Rovers for a fee settled by a tribunal. His rapid development is testimony to the time he spends on the training ground with Howe, who is fast becoming renowned for his work with youngsters.
King looked out of his depth during the early stages of his Cherries career, but is now arguably the first name on the team-sheet. A potential partnership with Jermain Defoe at Dean Court next season is a mouth-watering prospect for supporters.
Everton are also rumoured to be monitoring King but it is Spurs who are the frontrunners for his signature according to the bookmakers. He is valued at £30 million and it would likely take such an offer for Bournemouth even to countenance letting their prized asset depart.
The Cherries are under no financial pressure to sell and, having already captured Defoe, Asmir Begovic and Nathan Ake, they are intent on establishing themselves as a Premier League force.
The lure of Champions League football and representing a club steeped in history would be difficult to resist, but there is more for King to consider here. At Bournemouth he is the main man, a guaranteed starter in a team whose attractive football has won plaudits worldwide.
He has the implicit trust of his manager and is worshipped by the fans. At Spurs, King would be playing second fiddle to Kane, who is an immovable presence. With the system Pochettino prefers, it is unlikely that the Norwegian would partner the England captain. As Janssen has found to his cost this season, game-time is extremely limited when Kane is fit and firing on all cylinders.
At 25 years of age, King needs regular football. His vast improvement has astounded many at Bournemouth and beyond, but the simple fact is that the potential he always possessed has finally been unlocked. There may come a time when King outgrows the Cherries and moves on to pastures new. But for now, he would be best served by continue his footballing education on the south coast under Howe’s tutelage.