It is five years since Josh King, a raw 23-year-old with undoubted potential and awaiting more opportunities, left Ewood Park and signed for Bournemouth. The Cherries had recently lifted the Championship title and were embarking on a historic first ever season in the Premier League.

Five years on, King is touted to be on the wishlist of four of the Premier League’s so-called ‘big six’, with Manchester United having seen January efforts to sign their former trainee rebuffed.

King is all but certain to move on this summer, whatever happens to Bournemouth whose run of five consecutive seasons in the top flight is looking as precarious at it ever has.

Having exploited the opportunity to leave Rovers when his contract expired in 2015, with just 12 months left to run on his current deal, King knows all signs are pointing towards his departure from the Vitality Stadium.

The transfer talk actually comes after his poorest return in front of goal in the red-and-black stripes of Bournemouth, with just four goals in 20 outings.

With talks of bids upwards of £20m on deadline day, there was excitement among Rovers supporters about the prospect of a sell-on clause, some even reporting as much as 20 per cent.

Rovers haven’t commented on that, and the details of King’s move weren’t published at the time.

The two clubs finally agreed a deal, albeit more than a year after King left Rovers, meaning it didn’t go to a tribunal, where the fee would have been set by an independent panel, as it was three years later when Connor Mahoney made the same trip to the south coast.

Because Mahoney’s was set by the independent committee, every clause in the deal was outlined, including a 20 per cent sell-on for any profit made, with Rovers receiving a slice of the fee that took the winger to Millwall last summer.

As King weighed up his options in the summer of 2015, he outlined his frustration at a lack of opportunities in Rovers colours, but did stress: “They’ve promised me more time next year if I stay as their main striker.”

Rovers likely made that claim knowing that Rudy Gestede was set to move on that summer, the Benin striker eventually securing a move to Aston Villa in a deal worth £6m after a stellar 2014/15 campaign.

King’s opportunities were limited in his final season at Rovers, just five Championship starts and 11 more from the bench.

But so settled, and potent was the Rovers attack, it was hard to see a spot for him.  Rudy Gestede and Jordan Rhodes scored 20 and 21 Championship goals respectively that season, with their firepower complemented from a midfield which contained Tom Cairney, Craig Conway and Ben Marshall. Injuries didn't help either.

When King first arrived at Rovers in November 2012 on loan from Manchester United, he was already a Norway international, but leaving three-and-a-half years later, almost half of his 67 appearances came from the bench.

Looking back, he was more a victim of consequence, than anything else.

Three of his six goals came in one blistering afternoon, his shining moment in Rovers colours, as they dumped Premier League Stoke City out of the FA Cup in February 2015.

“Like any of our players we’ve developed him and as a result you create the monster that is interest from other clubs,” said then manager Gary Bowyer after his stunning performance against the Potters.

But rather than kick-starting his Rovers career, it would be the beginning of the end, with no more goals, and just five more appearances before his move to Bournemouth as a hamstring injury struck at the worst possible time.

Bowyer’s message of “we’ve been telling him that this club provides the best opportunity to progress his career even further” fell on deaf ears.

King’s time on the south coast has been a productive one, in terms of both goals and games. He’s made at least 34 appearances in the four completed seasons at the club, and found the net 48 times.

He outlined his arrival as a Premier League force to great effect  in the second half of the 2016/17 season, finishing it with 14 goals in 18 games that earned him an improved deal that is now approaching the final 12 months.

And so the present day, with Sky Sports linking four of the top-six clubs in the Premier League with a possible move for the Norwegian who has 17 goals in 46 appearances for his country, and was set to star at this summer’s European Championship before they were postponed.

His ability to play all across the front three attacking positions will appeal to potential suitors, as will his likely desire to make the move.

Reports in January suggested Norway striker King was “bitterly disappointed” with not returning to Old Trafford in January, suggestions shrugged off by Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe in February.

“It was a difficult few days for him. I’m not going to deny that, but I think he is in a good place now to return and fight for us, ” the Cherries boss said.

Bournemouth will be well aware of needing King to be at his best once the season resumes as it appears next month, one of three clubs locked on 27 points with nine games remaining, inside the bottom three on goal difference.

King, reported to have asthma, has suggested he is ‘a little worried’ about the prospect of returning amid the coronavirus pandemic, but whatever discussions surround his short-term future, his long-term ambitions will come in to full view in the coming months, even with an anticipated quieter summer transfer window than normal.

Rovers will wait and see, and be checking those terms and conditions from the 2016 deal with interest. Every penny would help at this time, and an unexpected boost from a sell-on clause would be just that.