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3 reasons why Joshua King is Manchester United's ideal January solution | Premier League 2019-20

  • Here's why the Red Devils' apparent interest in their former youth team prospect Josh King is justified.
Vaibhav Joshi
ANALYST
Rumors
Modified 31 Jan 2020, 16:41 IST

Josh King has been linked with a return to Manchester United
Josh King has been linked with a return to Manchester United

Having spent most of the January transfer window caught up in rumours and speculations regarding potential ins and outs, Manchester United seem to be ending it in a flurry of transfer activity. The long-awaited arrival of Portuguese international Bruno Fernandes in a big-money move from Sporting Lisbon was finally confirmed one day before the January transfer deadline 2020, while Ashley Young and Marcos Rojo have departed for Inter Milan and Estudiantes respectively. 

And it seems like United are still not done - this past month, United have been linked with former Premier League strikers Odion Ighalo and Islam Slimani as well as Edinson Cavani and Willian Jose. However, one name that has recently emerged as a potential deadline-day signing is one of their former youth team players and current Bournemouth forward Joshua King. Having joined United as a 16-year-old, King made just two first-team appearances for the Red Devils - one in a dead rubber Champions League match against Galatasaray and the other in a cup match against Wolves - before joining Championship side Blackburn Rovers five years after he arrived. He made a return to the Premier League with Bournemouth two years later.

With reports suggesting that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to add a striker to fill the Marcus Rashford-shaped hole in his squad, here are three reasons why Josh King is the striker Manchester United should be looking to buy in the January transfer window:


#1 Unfinished business at United

AFC Bournemouth v Manchester United - Premier League
AFC Bournemouth v Manchester United - Premier League

United were the reigning English, European and world champions when King arrived at the club in 2008. Despite impressing for United’s youth teams, he stood very little chance of breaking into the first team, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen, Chicharito, and Danny Welbeck ahead of him in the pecking order. Instead, he was shunted out on a series of loans before finally completing a permanent move away in 2013. Now, having established himself as a first-team regular in the Premier League for the Cherries, King would be eager to prove his ability to lead the line for a top English club were United to bring him back to Old Trafford this January.


#2 Proven Premier League quality

Brighton & Hove Albion v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Brighton & Hove Albion v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League

King’s first season in the Premier League with Bournemouth saw him score seven goals in the league, including a winner against United. He was more prolific the following season, bagging 16 goals, adding nine more the season after that. These might not be the numbers of a future Premier League great, but his goals have proved to be invaluable in maintaining Bournemouth’s top-flight status. In fact, with 45 goals in 151 appearances for the Cherries, King is their leading scorer in the Premier League. With considerable strength along with a turn of pace in his locker, he possesses the ideal skill set to be a success at United.


#3 A good relationship with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

When a player moves from one Premier League club to another, his relationship with his new manager is often a key factor in ensuring that the transfer goes through. This is also true in the case of King’s prospective move to United, where his compatriot Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is currently at the helm. Most of King’s time with United’s youth team was spent under Ole, who was the head coach of United’s reserves at the time, and Solskjaer retains an admiration for the 28-year-old striker since that time. Even though King scored the winner in Bournemouth’s 1-0 victory over his United side in November earlier in the current season, Solskjaer praised his former player after the match, saying that it was great to see him having a good career.

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With King’s contract with the Cherries set to run out in June 2021, this could be one of Bournemouth’s last chances to get a decent return on one of their star strikers. However, after a campaign that has seen injury affect most members of their squad, Bournemouth hang perilously close to the drop and might not be in a position to let King go just now.


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Published 31 Jan 2020, 16:03 IST
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