Carlo Ancelotti must not block Joshua King from joining Celtic in the summer as the striker has proven to be a flop since signing for Everton.
What’s the word?
While speaking with Football Insider, former Leeds striker Noel Whelan has backed King to secure a move to Parkhead once his Everton contract expires.
The Norway international had expressed that his intentions would be to earn a longer-term deal, as his mid-season arrival featured clauses which could return a new contract, but he is expected to be released at the end of the campaign.
Whelan believes that Celtic may emerge as a potential destination for King in the summer, with the Hoops in advanced talks with his former Cherries boss Eddie Howe over taking up the vacant head coach position in Glasgow.
“You look to Ancelotti, you look to a lot of managers – they bring in their own,” Whelan said. “It’s no different to Jose Mourinho and [Sergio] Reguilon from Real Madrid. He has seen him, seen him work, he knows what he’s getting.
“That’ll be no different for Eddie Howe. We know Josh King’s available. Everton aren’t taking that on. He would be fantastic for the Scottish game and Celtic. Maybe he’ll delve into the market for that one, he knows what’s happening in the summertime.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he delves into the market and takes people that he knows and trusts. That’s what managers generally do, using their own contacts and the relationships they have with players. That would only be a positive for Celtic.”
Should Everton let King leave?
Ancelotti signed King in the winter market this year as he sought to acquire attacking depth following Cenk Tosun returning to Besiktas and Anthony Gordon joining Preston North End in loan deals, yet never seeing the summer free agent proving to be a clinical product.
“I think he’s the right profile that we needed,” the Italian said, via quotes shared by the Liverpool Echo. “The fact that we let Tosun go to Turkey, we let Anthony to have experience, we needed a profile for the position in front. We were looking at him in the summer.
“We didn’t sign him to have more goals. We signed him to have a powerful, fast player – not to score more goals. We signed him to have more options in front, with him we have more options. Of course, we need goals, but we have players who can score goals.”
No matter how Ancelotti framed King’s arrival at the time, the 29-year-old has proven to be a total dud on whom Everton will have wasted £2.9m by the time his contract expires.
He will have been at Goodison Park for 21 weeks when his £45,000-a-week deal expires on June 30, costing club owner Farhad Moshiri £945,000 in wages – on top of the £2m paid to Bournemouth – on a player who is yet to start or provide any goal involvement in royal blue.
The versatile 54-cap forward has made each of his eight Everton appearances to date from the bench, with an average time on the pitch of just 15 minutes thanks to three cameo showings of six or fewer minutes and only one exceeding the half-hour mark.
He was even overlooked for a central role while Dominic Calvert-Lewin was sidelined with a hamstring injury against Fulham and Manchester City, with King instead brought on for Alex Iwobi against the Cottagers and Tom Davies against the Citizens to fill in on the right wing.
If Howe has any interest in being reunited with King at Celtic, Ancelotti cannot stand in the attacker’s way and must instead search the transfer market for a replacement.