Why Aston Villa should go all out for Joshua King after latest boost
According to The Sun (h/t Birmingham Live), Aston Villa have been handed a massive boost in their reported pursuit of Bournemouth forward Joshua King, who is understood to be desperate to secure a move away from the south coast club before the summer deadline.
The 28-year-old was previously valued at £16million by Bournemouth but with King just having a year left on his current contract at the Vitality Stadium, the Cherries are willing to entertain offers of around £10million for the Norwegian international. (Sun h/t Birmingham Live)
As per the report, Villa boss Dean Smith is interested in adding another centre-forward to his ranks to compete with Ollie Watkins. King has been touted as a potential target for the Villans over the past few months while Tottenham have also been linked with a move for the Bournemouth star.
Joshua King was snapped up by Manchester United as an exciting teenager from the youth ranks of Norwegian club Valerenga back in 2008 but he went on to make just two first-team appearances for the Red Devils.
The versatile forward spent time on loan at Preston, Hull City and Blackburn Rovers in the Championship, as well as at Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga, before completing a permanent move to Blackburn.
King struggled to make a big impact in England’s second-tier, scoring just 6 times in 89 career appearances in the Championship. But that was enough for Bournemouth to take a punt on him back in the summer of 2015.
The Norwegian international enjoyed a dramatic turnaround of fortunes following his move to the Premier League, registering an impressive tally of 48 goals and 15 assists in 161 top-flight outings for the Cherries over the course of five full seasons. A full international for Norway since 2012, King has scored 17 goals in 48 appearances for his nation.
King would add more depth to Villa’s centre-forward ranks
Aston Villa have already added the likes Ollie Watkins and Bertrand Traore to their attacking ranks this summer but it’s easy to figure why Dean Smith ideally needs to bring in another centre-forward.
Watkins has started each of Villa’s three opening fixtures this season, featuring in wins against Sheffield United and Fulham in the Premier League, as well as the EFL Cup victory over Burton Albion. However, the Villans don’t have much depth in that position.
Traore, of course, is capable of doing a job as a central striker but his best qualities are utilised on the right-hand side of the pitch. Unproven youngster Keinan Davis is currently the only specialist back-up available at Smith’s disposal following the departure of Mbwana Samatta, with Wesley Moraes unlikely to be back from his knee injury until January.
Plus, Villa have also loaned out highly-rated academy prospect Indiana Vassilev to Burton Albion in League One. Josh King, to that end, ticks all boxes to come through the door at Villa Park as a tried and tested option in the Premier League.
The Norwegian boasts a proven track record of goals and assists in the top-flight and his potential arrival at the club would provide Smith with a different option to lead the line. Squad rotation will surely play a big part later on in the campaign and having an experienced campaigner like King in the ranks would ensure healthy competition for places in front of goal.
Furthermore, the 28-year-old has the versatility to operate in a slightly withdrawn role behind the main striker and also out wide on the flanks. That would hand a significant boost to Smith’s squad dynamics while reducing the goalscoring burden on Watkins, who still remains unproven in the top-flight despite his masterclass against Liverpool.
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Joshua King would be an absolute bargain for Aston Villa if he is, indeed, available at the touted price of £10million this summer. The 28-year-old apparently wants an immediate return to the Premier League and with Bournemouth slashing their asking price for the Norwegian, the door certainly remains open for Dean Smith to add another top-quality striker to his ranks.