West Ham United have been dealt a blow in their pursuit of ‘top target’ Joshua King with AFC Bournemouth now said to be in talks to sell the striker to Southampton on Deadline Day.
According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, negotiations between the Cherries and Saints have gained significant traction after last-ditch discussions began over the weekend.
The deal would see King head to St. Mary’s for a nominal fee after Bournemouth finally reduced their asking price for the Norway international, who is set to be out of contract when his £45,000-per-week terms expire at the end of the season.
Southampton striker Shane Long would go in the opposite direction on loan with an option to buy if Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl can convince King of a move along the south coast, as the 29-year-old would have to accept the deal on the table for a transfer to go through.
King had reportedly been demanding a £120,000-per-week contract to quit Bournemouth in the winter market, feeling that he should be given a sizable offer in lieu of the payday a free transfer would return in the summer.
His demands are said to have priced Everton out of a move, while Fulham’s interest is not seen to be an attractive proposition after King was relegated from the Premier League with Bournemouth last term.
West Ham had also monitored King’s situation in the winter transfer market and were said to have still identified the former Manchester United trainee as their top-target on Friday.
The Athletic claiming that Bournemouth are in productive talks to sell King to Southampton on Deadline Day will be exactly what David Moyes did not want West Ham to hear, with the Scotsman still yet to secure a replacement for Sebastien Haller.
Moyes has since been regularly claimed to have marked King as his favoured option to bolster the Irons attack, and may now end the winter market with no proven depth behind Michail Antonio and be forced into unleashing academy sensation Mipo Odubeko or turn to winger Andriy Yarmolenko.
King would have delivered proven top-flight attacking quality in abundance if he were signed, with the £10m-rated gem scoring at least six goals per season that he featured in the Premier League – including two campaigns that returned double-digit tallies.
He is also lauded for his approach to the game, with former England international Emile Heskey telling HITC: “He gives you that pace, that directness, he understands the league. He’s an international player.
“Getting him at this part of the season, he should be able to hit the ground running because he knows what it’s about.”
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