Manchester United executive vice president Ed Woodward “gave Bournemouth 15 minutes to accept a £ 25m offer for Josh King” before making the decision to sign Odion Ighalo on loan.
The signing of a new striker became an urgent matter for the Old Trafford club in the closing days of the January transfer window, after Marcus Rashford’s back injury left them ahead.
King, a former United States Academy graduate who made two first-team appearances, was a potential target as time slackened.
Joshua King of Bournemouth was one of the attackers considered by Man United in January
King scored against his former club when Bournemouth defeated United in November
Executive Vice President of the United States Ed Woodward “gave Bournemouth 15 minutes to accept an offer of £ 25 million for King”
And, according to The Athletic, Woodward chose to put pressure on Bournemouth by telling his CEO Neill Blake that he had 15 minutes to take or leave a £ 25m offer for King.
“You have 15 minutes to tell us if you accept or we will sign a player from China,” Woodward tells Blake.
Bournemouth let time pass without a decision and United eventually signed the former Watford Ighalo striker on loan from the Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season.
Ighalo will probably make his United debut when he travels to Chelsea in the Premier League on Monday evening.
King first appeared in two teams for United after joining their academy
King, 28, has scored three goals in 18 appearances for Bournemouth so far this season
King this season
But King was disappointed that his “dream” wasn’t complete.
Speaking following Bournemouth’s 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United on Sunday, King discussed the topic with the Norwegian TV station TV2.
‘How close I have not had a complete answer to. I have to look at what I say, “said the attacker.
‘I had some confidence that it would happen. And it was a little sensitive for me considering that I moved to England as a sixteen year old to make my dream come true and I wanted to achieve that goal at Manchester United.
‘I did not do it [happen] and then I made a choice and went away. When you feel that you are connected to United and an offer arrives, then the feelings you had as a sixteen year old come back to you.
‘But why it didn’t happen, I don’t know. I am a Bournemouth player and I have a lot of fun here. But it had been a dream come true, I won’t lie.
King has scored three goals and has so far contributed two assists in 18 appearances for Bournemouth this season.
King worked with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer when the current United chief was reserve manager
He declined offers from Chelsea, Sunderland and Ipswich Town to sign for United by the Norwegian club Valerenga at the age of 16 in January 2008.
King made progress in the youth and reserve ranks, working with current United head Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and was rewarded when Sir Alex Ferguson handed him a first team debut off the bench in a third round of the League Cup against the Wolves in September 2009.
But facing stiff competition for attacking spots, King made just one more first-team appearance, on loan to Preston North End, Borussia Monchengladbach, Hull City and Blackburn Rovers.
He finally signed permanently for Blackburn in January 2013 before joining Bournemouth in 2015.
Since then King has scored 47 times in 161 games for cherries, where he has a contract until 2021.
Ighalo worked hard in the gym and on the training ground before his United debut
Calendar of Man United
Premier League unless otherwise indicated
Monday Chelsea (A)
February 20 Club Brugge (A)
Europa League last-32, one way
February 23 Watford (H)
February 27 Club Brugge (H)
Europa League last-32, return
1st March Everton (A)
March 5 Derby County (A)
Fifth round of the FA Cup
After his return to United failed, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe spoke about the situation.
He said: ‘It has been a difficult couple of days for him, but he is very focused on our current position.
“It was a great compliment and a great time for him to bring in Manchester United and express an interest.”
Howe said it would be open to King who would move elsewhere in the summer.
‘He knows we’re in a relegation fight – it’s not the time for him to focus on himself. He knows and is very much a team player, “added the head of the cherries.
‘He is looking forward to being in shape and contributing to our battle.
‘We cannot think of individual situations when we are in the position we are in, we need everyone to pull in the same direction for the benefit of the team.
“And if we can do it, then we can reevaluate ourselves in the summer.”