MANAGER Eddie Howe insisted there had been “no issues” with Cherries striker Joshua King and added: “He is very keen to play for the club, for the shirt.”

The 28-year-old had been heavily linked with a shock return to former club Manchester United right at the end of the January transfer window.

The Daily Echo understands the Red Devils made an offer for King the night before Friday’s transfer deadline – which the Dorset club turned down.

And despite speculation intensifying on the final day of the window, the Dorset club kept hold of their all-time Premier League record goalscorer.

Reports elsewhere suggested Norway striker King “will be bitterly disappointed” with not returning to Old Trafford.

But Howe insisted King, who missed Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Aston Villa through injury, remained in a good place mentally.

Asked whether he had work to do with King following the speculation, the Cherries boss said: “As it currently stands, no. He has been in a really good frame of mind.

“He is desperate to come back from injury and show everybody how good he is.

“He is very keen to play for the club, for the shirt, there is no issues with him at all.

“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.”

He added: “I think I’m always thinking of my players and, of course, the club and making sure we do right by the club and right by the players - making sure they are in a position where they can give their best for us.

“Out of this event, Joshua is in a good place to return and show everybody that he is the striker that deserves to be bid by Manchester United and living up to that.

“He has all the ability to do it and hopefully he will show it in the second half of the season.”

King has missed Cherries’ past five Premier League games through injury.

But Howe said the Oslo-born star was not too far away from making an eagerly-anticipated return.

“With hamstring injuries it’s difficult to tell but he is very close,” the manager added.

“He hasn’t trained yet with us.

“It will either hopefully be next week or the following game.”