West Ham United reviving efforts to sign AFC Bournemouth’s Joshua King in January could be problematic with the Norway forward already unsettled on the south coast.
According to Football Insider, Irons chiefs are putting in the groundwork to signing King in the mid-season market when the 28-year-old will have just six months remaining on his £45,000-per-week contract.
Hammers boss David Moyes was disappointed not to have welcomed King to the London Stadium this summer having favoured his potential capture over Said Benrahma, with reports the Cherries ace was his first-choice target.
Moyes is said to have spearheaded West Ham’s efforts to sign King and held multiple personal conversations with the forward, but was unable to strike a deal after seeing bids worth £13million rejected with Bournemouth chasing in excess of £17m amid interest from Aston Villa, Brighton and West Bromwich Albion following their relegation.
West Ham believe they may now be able to welcome King to east London in the winter market having laid the foundations for a deal, with Bournemouth’s asking price expected to be significantly lower – potentially around £10m – due to the limited time left on his current contract.
The Irons also feel King is keen to sign for the club, while the forward himself recently told TV2 that “it hasn’t been the easiest months for me mentally,” after failing to secure a return to the top-flight.
“If it had been up to me, I would have already signed for a club and started the season, played four games and been in top form,” King told the Norwegian television network.
“I think the club would rather me be here, but as I said, I felt like I had done mine and been loyal to the club for many years. We had an agreement between us after what happened in January.”
Bournemouth rejected two approaches from Manchester United in the January market, with the second worth £25m believed to have left King encouraged that a deal would be struck for the attacker to return to his former side. The Red Devils did not return with a third offer, however.
While King was keen to return to the Premier League and felt he had served his time at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth will have been glad to retain a player who scored 48 goals and recorded 15 assists in 161 top-flight games over the past five seasons, despite only playing a third of his matches as the recognised striker.
His efforts would certainly have been a welcome addition for Moyes at the London Stadium, but reviving hopes of signing the 28-year-old in January could be problematic if the Norway international continues to dwell on failing to seal a transfer this summer.
King’s former teammate Ryan Fraser fell into trap of dwelling on failing to secure a transfer, having remained with Bournemouth in the summer of 2019 amid links to Arsenal. His form ultimately suffered as a result and forced the Scotland international to apologise for not playing for the team.
“I felt bad about it – this last month I’ve been trying to put it right,” he told BBC Radio Solent in January. “I think everyone knows by now what’s happened, to be honest. I’m just trying to play my football. Obviously, it affected me the first four months of the season.
“I wasn’t myself, I didn’t play for the team. I’m honest enough to admit that. I look back at it, I spoke to my family about it and it just looked bad on me. I didn’t help the team. It shouldn’t have taken me that long to realise, but I’m my own worst critic and I apologised to the lads.”
Fraser had only managed to contribute one goal and three assists when he apologised to his Bournemouth colleagues, and ended the season with just one more assist before snubbing a short-term contract extension and joining Newcastle United as a free agent.
The 26-year-old had been one of the Premier League’s top-creators in 2018/19 with only Chelsea’s Eden Hazard (15) recording more assists than his 14, but Fraser clearly struggled to deal with a failed transfer and has played just 92 minutes for the Toon after five matches in the top-flight this term.