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The return of King?

Joshua King

Despite the European transfer window closing on the 5th October, EFL clubs can continue completing deals until the 16th of October. Premier League clubs cannot buy or sell players between themselves but are still able to transfer players to and from EFL clubs. This places domestic-based players at a premium due to the limited market yet provides clubs an additional 11 days to plug any remaining gaps in their squads.

One such player who may still move to the Premier League is Joshua King. The Norwegian forward has been highly coveted by Premier League clubs ever since Bournemouth’s relegation from the top tier was confirmed but a deal is still yet to be agreed. With a whole host of Premier League clubs in pursuit of King, where is he likely to end up and what is his true value?

Tottenham, Everton, Aston Villa, Manchester United and West Ham have all been reported to have had an interest in King over the Summer. However, Manchester United and Tottenham both added strikers in the final days of the window in the shape of Edinson Cavani and Carlos Vinicius respectively, so their interest is expected to over.

Both Aston Villa and Everton provide interesting options as both clubs have made significant attacking additions over the transfer window.

Starting in Birmingham, Villa have added Bertrand Traore and Ollie Watkins to their forward line so far which would appear to put them in good stead. However, with Grealish now predominantly operating as a central-midfielder, Trezeguet is the only left-sided forward at the club although Anwar El Ghazi and Keinan Davis have both played there previously. If Josh King were to come in at Villa Park, he would likely slot straight into the starting line-up on the left flank but he could also provide attacking cover for Watkins. Wesley and Davis are the only other two striking options currently at the club although both players faltered last season. Despite arriving for a relatively large fee last season, Wesley scored just five Premier League goals whilst Davis scored just once all season in an EFL Cup tie against Crewe Alexandra. Therefore, whilst there certainly isn’t a need for another attacking option for the Villans, rationale could be made for the recruitment of a proven Premier League forward.

A similar picture emerges on the blue side of Merseyside. Inspired by a new midfield trident of Abdoulaye Doucoure, Allan and James Rodriguez, Everton have made a flying start to their Premier League season and currently sit at the top of the table with four wins from four games. Despite this success, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are the only fit strikers at the club with Cenk Tosun currently injured. However, Richarlison has typically operated from the left due to a lack of wingers at the club. With Theo Walcott returning to Southampton on loan, this leaves Alex Iwobi, Bernard and Yannick Bolasie as the remaining senior wide options for the Toffees. All three have flattered to deceive thus far. This leaves only Anthony Gordon, who made his Premier League debut in January 2020. Despite Everton’s summer recruitment drive, they still lack strength in depth and the potential addition of Joshua King would go some way to rectifying this.

London would appear to be the perfect destination for the Norwegian though. The Hammers are incredibly short in attacking depth. Sebastien Haller and Michail Antonio are the only senior strikers at the club whilst Jarrod Bowen, Andriy Yarmolenko and Robert Snodgrass are the only natural wide players. These three wingers all prefer to operate on the right-hand-side and Antonio himself started his career as a right-winger. He has only begun playing as a centre-forward in the past few seasons. Manuel Lanzini and Pablo Fornals are both natural number 10s but have been pushed into a left-wing role by David Moyes when required or the Scot has instead opted for a five at the back formation, utilising Ryan Fredericks and Arthur Masuaku to provide attacking width and playing without wingers altogether. The purchase of Joshua King would go some way to addressing both issues. With his Premier League experience, he would be expected to slot straight into the first team as the starting left-wing option as well as providing attacking cover for Haller and Antonio. He would also present Moyes with much more flexibility in his tactical set-up as well as fielding either Lanzini or Fornals in their natural position behind the striker when required.

This means that King on paper is an ideal transfer target for the Hammers, leaving only the transfer fee and contract negotiations as potential sticking points. Current rumours state that whilst Bournemouth initially wanted £20m for the Norwegian, they are now willing to accept an offer in the region of £15m. Our calculations currently place an estimated market value of £26.39m on King. With a valuation potentially over £10m above the eventual transfer fee, we’d recommend that West Ham do everything they can to convince King to move to the London Stadium before the second transfer deadline passes.

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