West Ham would be getting ripped off by paying £16million for Bournemouth striker Josh King, according to Noel Whelan.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Premier League forward suggested the Cherries should only be able to demand around £10million for the 29-year-old with his contract set to expire at the end of the season.
The Sun report the Hammers are prepared to launch a £16million bid for the Bournemouth forward after seeing a £13million offer rejected earlier this month, while the Irons are also said to have missed out on Sevilla’s Youssef En-Nesyri.
David Moyes is in the market for a new striker this month after allowing Sebastien Haller to leave for Ajax earlier in the winter window.
Whelan believes Bournemouth were playing a risky game turning down a £13million offer and that their decision could come back to bite them if the Hammers – or anyone else – refuses to meet their demands.
Asked if Bournemouth were taking advantage of West Ham’s desperation, Whelan told Football Insider: “I think so, yeah, I think they’re trying to see how badly they want him.
“Look, he’s out of contract, he could very easily sign a pre-contract abroad right now and they get nothing, so they need to be very careful and sensible on what they’re asking for. In my opinion, if they got £10million for him, they should be happy, because £10million is better than nothing.
“At £16million, that’s a lot of money to pay for a player that you can actually wait for, be in discussions with already now, and he can ride it out – he’d be a lot richer, being a free agent, that’s for sure, and West Ham will be saving £16million they could spend elsewhere.
“I think Bournemouth need to be realistic about this and sensible because I’m pretty sure six months will fly by and during that time he could just make a decision himself going: ‘You know what? I’ll actually wait, I’ll go and join West Ham at the end of the season.’
“It’s one of those where you need to be very careful and sensible but £16million? No, I’d be going: ‘If you’re going to be giving that kind of price tag on a player that has got six months left, probably four months of football, we’ll wait and then we’ll take him for nothing.'”