By Russell Edge

Newcastle are eyeing up a move for Bournemouth striker Josh King in a deal which would cost as much as £24m, according to a report.

The Northern Echo claim that Rafael Benitez has made the Norwegian international his number one attacking target this summer, having secured a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking.

They claim that Bournemouth would be looking for at least double the £12m that Newcastle spent when they bought midfielder Matt Ritchie from the Vitality Stadium last summer.

King signed a four-year contract last summer, so the Cherries will not feel forced to make a deal if it is not in their best interests.

The former Blackburn man has been one of Bournemouth’s best performers this season, hitting 15 goals in the league to put him joint eighth on the Premier League top scorers list, alongside Jermain Defoe and Eden Hazard.

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He has had a particularly prolific end to the season with 13 goals in the last 18 games, including a hat-trick against West Ham.

However, Newcastle face competition for the 25-year-old’s signature, with second-placed Tottenham also reportedly interested.

Football Insider verdict:

Josh King is the sort of proven Premier League talent Rafa Benitez will be craving this summer. His goal scoring record this season has been outstanding, and it is no wonder Bournemouth will be looking for in excess of £20m for their star man. However, the Spanish boss will see that as £20m well spent. Newcastle managed to convince Matt Ritchie to make the move from the South coast to the North East last summer despite their relegation, and they will be hoping to do the same for King. His versatility would work well in Benitez’s 4-5-1 system, and playing alongside the likes of Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle would help the 25-year-old flourish. The signing would be a real sign or Newcastle intent in the Premier League.

In other Newcastle news, Rob Elliott has revealed Newcastle’s secret weapon when they return to the top flight.

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