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Would a move to Tottenham Hotspur be in Joshua King’s best interests?

Rob Meech

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Joshua King Tottenham

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.

Rob is a freelance writer, specialising in football, who previously worked as a sports journalist at the Dorset Echo. A long-standing AFC Bournemouth supporter, Rob can often be found on the terraces at the Vitality Stadium. Follow him on Twitter - @RobMeech

Bournemouth

Three things learnt from Bournemouth’s win over Cardiff: Fraser is key

Howe’s side kicked off the new campaign in solid fashion.

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Photo: Getty Images

Bournemouth began their 2018-19 campaign in the Premier League with a 2-0 win over Cardiff, finally winning a matchday one fixture.

Eddie Howe’s side had not won on the opening weekend in each of their previous three seasons in the top-flight but goals from Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson put the hosts in the driving seat for three points – despite a first-half penalty miss.

The Cherries will head to West Ham next weekend in good confidence and can take some key lessons from their performances. Here, we have identified three things we learnt from Bournemouth’s win.

King & Wilson’s partnership

Scoring 16 goals last season, eight each, Joshua King and Callum Wilson played a key-part in Bournemouth’s push for stability once again. The Cherries will face another stern test this season, particularly due to the free-spending sides around them, so it was positive to see the duo shine.

(Photo by AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

The stand-out moment came in the build-up for the opening goal, where King teed the ball across for Wilson on the right side and he then cut the ball back into the middle for Fraser to latch onto and tuck home comfortably.

Both boasting bags of pace, the duo kept Cardiff’s defence under threat throughout the match and Wilson finished the game with a goal and an assist.

Fraser is the star

Entering the campaign on the back of a decent pre-season, 24-year-old Fraser wasted no time opening his account for the season and maintaining a superb run that extends from last term – as he has now played a direct part in six goals in his last eight matches at the Vitality Stadium.

Against Cardiff, Fraser was heavily involved in everything positive that the Cherries created going forward and his goal was just a fraction of his fine performance. He popped up in space all over the field, causing the Bluebirds plenty of problems and not shirking his defensive responsibilities.

Now with over 100 league appearances for Bournemouth, Fraser could be a crucial part of Eddie Howe’s side this season and the relationship he could create with Wilson and King is very exciting.

“If we can keep Ryan [Fraser] fit he’ll be a big player for us this season. We needed this win after a poor start last year.”

– Howe echoed the view that Fraser will be a key asset this season.

Penalty woes continue

Last season Bournemouth were far from prolific from the penalty spot and Harry Arter’s missed spot-kick against Southampton in early April was the third that the Cherries had missed in a row. While we saw plenty of penalties at the World Cup, Howe seems to have avoided penalty practice in training.

To be fair though, Callum Wilson’s first-half penalty against Cardiff was not a horrendous effort. He went low for the right-hand corner and was denied by a brilliant save from Neil Etheridge – although if you were to criticise you could argue he could have put more power behind it.

Fortunately, the miss did not come back to haunt the hosts but it certainly could have done, especially as Neil Warnock’s side looked a lot more threatening in the second period.

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Bournemouth

One winner and loser from Bournemouth’s win over Cardiff

Bournemouth’s campaign started superbly with a comfortable victory.

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Photo: Getty Images

Bournemouth won a matchday one fixture for the first time in the Premier League at the fourth time of asking after a 2-0 victory over Cardiff.

Ryan Fraser continued his good form from pre-season to open the lead before Callum Wilson doubled their advantage in the second half, redeeming himself after seeing a first-half penalty saved by Cardiff stopper Neil Etheridge.

Eddie Howe’s side will now head to face West Ham next weekend full of confidence and will take some key lessons into that match. Here, we have identified one winner and loser from the victory.

Winner: Ryan Fraser

Catching the eye in pre-season, Ryan Fraser entered the campaign with good form and continued a fine record that carries over from last term – as he has now been directly involved in six goals in his last eight matches at the Vitality Stadium, scoring four and contributing two assists.

(Photo by AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

The 24-year-old has now scored a quarter of his 12 clubs goals in that period, from 112 league appearances, and it looks like he could be the shining light for Eddie Howe’s side as they seek top-flight stability once again this season.

Scotland international Fraser will certainly face competition for regular opportunities in his midfield role following the signings of Jefferson Lerma and David Brooks but he has certainly put himself right at the top of the pecking order.

“If we can keep Ryan [Fraser] fit he’ll be a big player for us this season. We needed this win after a poor start last year.”

– Howe praises Fraser after the victory.

Loser: Lewis Cook

Handed an extended break after his involvement at the Toulon Tournament with England’s U21 side, and also on the standby list for Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad, Lewis Cook did not feature today and may now face a test to force his way back into the line-up.

He is certainly one of the best players within the Cherries squad but the midfield quartet selected by Howe for the match against Cardiff looked strong and composed throughout, keeping the Welsh side quiet and pegged back inside their own half during the opening 45 minutes.

The second half saw Cardiff look much more threatening and the midfield then dropped back to aid the defenders. If Cook is to be one of the first names on the teamsheet this season, he will need to hit the ground running on his return.

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One winner and loser as Cardiff swoop in on season-long loan for Harry Arter

It’s looking like Cardiff boss Neil Warnock will get the midfielder he’s been desperate for on deadline day.

Liam Thomas

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Harry Arter
Photo: Getty Images

Cardiff are closing in on a deal to sign Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter on a season-long loan, with the player en route to the Welsh capital to complete his medical, according to Sky Sports.

Manager Neil Warnock had prioritised the midfield as an area for his side to improve on before the transfer window closes and it looks like the Cardiff boss will have his wish granted with the arrival of Arter.

Cardiff will begin their 2018/19  Premier League campaign this Saturday afternoon against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium.

(Photo by Nathan Munkley/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Winner – Cardiff’s midfield options

The arrival of Arter will be welcomed by many at the Cardiff City Stadium, and there’s certainly room for improvement for Warnock’s side heading into the new season.

The Bournemouth man is a terrific talent and was unfortunate not to see more game time for the Cherries last season. However, Warnock will in no doubt give the experienced 28-year-old a chance to play week in, week out.

On a day where Warnock expressed his midfield as his priority, Harry Arter seems like the perfect deadline day signing to get things going ahead of the new campaign.

(Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Loser – Marko Grujic

Grujic enjoyed a terrific spell with Cardiff last season in the Championship while on loan from Liverpool and for the majority of this summers transfer window it looked likely the Serbian midfielder would join Warnock’s ranks on loan again.

However, according to the Liverpool Echo, Grujic turned down the chance to go back to the Cardiff City Stadium to instead fight for minutes at Anfield this season.

It will be a tough ask for Grujic to get some playing time at Anfield this season with the calibre of player they’ve brought in to their midfield this summer, and maybe the Serbian international has made a mistake by not taking Cardiff up on their offer of another season-long deal.

It remains to be seen whether or not Grujic will feature for Jurgen Klopp’s side this season. However, it’s highly unlikely he will.

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