Mike Ashley could put any fears of relegation to bed by sanctioning a deal for Newcastle United to sign AFC Bournemouth forward Joshua King in the January transfer window.
According to The Sun, King is proving to be a problem for a number of his potential suitors by demanding a mammoth £120,000-per-week contract to leave the Vitality Stadium this month.
Newcastle, Aston Villa and Fulham are all said to be tracking the Norway international’s situation, while Everton may shelve their plans to replace Cenk Tosun with King if he refuses to lower his demands as they only see the 29-year-old as a potential squad player.
Newcastle are happy to wait until the end of the season to welcome King to St. James’ Park as he is due to be a free agent in the summer, and thus avoid having to pay Bournemouth the rumoured £15m they are said to be demanding.
King believes he is deserving of a huge pay rise on his current £45k-p/w deal to leave Bournemouth this month, as he will be able to negotiate lucrative terms and a sizeable signing bonus if he leaves the south coast as a free agent like Ryan Fraser achieved last year.
King penning a £120k-p/w deal would make the Norway international Newcastle’s top-earner by some margin, with Joelinton currently the best-paid player on £86.5k-p/w terms.
Newcastle should do all they can to bring King to St. James’ Park in the January transfer window and reunite the forward with his former Bournemouth teammates Fraser and Wilson, as the 29-year-old may prove to be the difference between United being relegated or staying in the Premier League.
The Toon will well and truly be in a relegation fight if they lose at Arsenal on Monday night, where defeat or a draw will extend a six-game winless run in the top-flight that stretches to eight in all competitions after bowing out of the Carabao Cup and FA Cup.
Just seven points currently separate Newcastle from the drop zone, with no side claiming fewer points (2) than Steve Bruce’s men since the Toon last won a league game, while only Burnley, Southampton (3) and Fulham (2) have scored fewer goals (4).
King has struggled with injuries this season and tested positive for coronavirus, but struck twice and provided an assist in Bournemouth’s FA Cup win over Oldham earlier this month and once again offered creativity despite the Cherries losing 1-0 at home to Luton on Saturday.
The 29-year-old took a joint-game high three shots at the weekend and directed two on target (also a joint-game high), while delivering one of his side’s nine key passes as Jason Tindall saw the Cherries spread the creative burden evenly, per WhoScored.
King also made the second-most successful dribbles (2) among all who featured for either side with a 100% success rate, won two of his three aerial duels and offered two tackles from two attempts for the joint-second most by a Bournemouth player.
His performance was enough to take his seasonal averages to 1.0 shots, 0.6 key passes and 1.4 dribbles attempted a game, with efforts on goal every 44.9 minutes and a chance created every 74.8 minutes.
Wilson comparably offers a shot on goal every 47.5 minutes in the Premier League, where he is Newcastle’s top-scorer with eight goals in 15 games, and having another player who produces at a similar level could allow Ashley and Bruce to forget about facing relegation this season.
AND in other news, a £2m-rated Newcastle target’s potential has been questioned by his current side.