Why Eddie Howe Shoud Look To Keep Hold Of Joshua King At All Costs
Bournemouth have had an excellent summer so far, and have easily been one of the more astute sides in the Premier League. The arrival of Jermain Defoe from Sunderland for free, the capture of defender Nathan Ake and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic from Chelsea represents great business for the club and shows the ambition and the direction that they are headed towards.
In Defoe, they have bought one of the most experienced and consistent goal-scorers in England and have suitably covered up for the injury prone Callum Wilson. With Artur Boruc not getting any younger, Begovic’s arrival means they now have a proven goalkeeper who can be their No.1 for a number of years to come. And in Ake, they have got their hands on one of the most promising youngsters in the league. The Dutchman enjoyed a particularly fruitful spell at the Vitality Stadium in the first-half of last season and if he finds that form, he will turn out to be a great signing.
While all that represents some serious progress, if Howe and Bournemouth are to go a step further this coming season, they need to hold on to one of their best players from last season – Joshua King.
The Norwegian international spent five years on the books of Manchester United between 2008 and 2013, but couldn’t break into the first team, despite showing fleeting glimpses of his potential. Having joined Blackburn Rovers, he started to showcase his real talent and Bournemouth snapped him for free in 2015, upon their return to the top-flight. While he did not have the best of the seasons upon his arrival, scoring 7 and setting up 4 goals in 31 league outings, King truly came into his own this past term.
King finished as the top scorer for the Cherries, scoring 16 goals and registering 2 assists from 36 league games and was one of the most promising forwards in the English top tier. And it is this form because of which the 25-year old attacker has been intensely pursued by Tottenham Hotspur this summer, along with heavy spenders Everton.
The former United man has shown all traits of excelling into a top class striker, with his power, pace and his deadly finishing. And what more, he can also play in an attacking midfielder role and out wide on the flanks, that makes him so much more valuable.
King was easily the standout player for the Cherries last season and losing him could prove to be detrimental to their progress. They might have brought in Defoe, but he is ageing and may not be able to play regularly. Wilson too is expected to be fit for the coming season, but is likely to be rusty after such a lengthy layoff. And with the misfiring Benik Afobe and Lys Mousset as other options, they need King to provide the necessary firepower at the top.
The player, on his part, needs to realise that if he moves to Tottenham, he will never be anything more than a backup to Harry Kane, in spite of the number of games they will be playing. And Howe and Bournemouth should look to exploit that. Yes, the appeal of European football is extremely hard to turn down, but with him in their ranks, along with the new recruits, led by Howe, Bournemouth have a squad capable of challenging for a Europa League spot next season.
Bournemouth built on their strong 2015-16 season, with a highly impressive 10th placed finish last season. Eddie Howe is building a very impressive side, with his players playing some very exciting football. And with some smart transfer business early into the off season, the club has further strengthened their ranks greatly.
Now is the time for them to take it a step further and aim to break into the UEFA Europa League qualifying spots and for that to happen, they cannot afford to lose King. Despite their impressive summer so far, it could all come down to whether the Norwegian stays or leaves, which could define their next season. Bournemouth should try their hardest to keep him tied down at the club.