West Ham are set to step up their interest in West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, according to Football Insider.
With the Baggies’ relegation to the Championship recently confirmed, the Hammers are now ready to make an approach for the 28-year-old in a bid to bring him over to east London.
The club are reportedly looking for someone who can provide cover and compete with Lukasz Fabianski next season, and have identified Johnstone as a strong option for the role.
Despite shipping 66 goals this season in the league, the 6 foot 4 goalkeeper has performed well for West Brom. He has made 145 saves – 15 more than any other shot-stopper in the top-flight – and has recorded a save percentage of 70.7%.
His consistent displays led to him receiving his first international call-up in March, although he did not get any game time for the Three Lions.
Still, he has done himself proud in his first Premier League campaign, and he could be playing amongst the elite again next year, only this time at West Ham.
So, would Johnstone be a good signing for West Ham?
GIVEMESPORT’s Sam Brookes, Jonathan Gorrie, Joshua Cole and Christy Malyan give their views below…
*All stats correct prior to this weekend’s games
“Johnstone is only going to get better.
“It is easy to forget that he had not played in the Premier League before this season, but he has looked right at home straight away. Just imagine what he could do with more accomplished defenders in front of him.
“When comparing his save percentage with Fabianski’s, Johnstone holds the edge (70.7% to 68.5%). Some may point to how there is only a 2.2% difference between the pair. Is that really noteworthy?
“It is when you factor in how fine the margins are in the top-flight. West Ham could end up missing out on the top four by a point or two come the end of the season. That would show that they are close to reaching the promised land of the Champions League, but just need to make some small adjustments ahead of their next campaign.
“Having Johnstone as their no. 1 instead of Fabianski would be a big step in the right direction, as it would highlight that they are looking at the small details and acting accordingly. These are the types of signings that could make all the difference in West Ham’s push for a top four place next year.”
“To say West Ham couldn’t do with another goalkeeper would be foolish. Indeed, the options outside of Lukasz Fabianski don’t exactly look convincing.
“Still, if this season has taught us anything, the supporting cast in David Moyes’ outfield options are the ones who let the team down.
“Just imagine where they’d be now if Declan Rice and Michail Antonio were available for more of the season. While it’s been a successful campaign regardless, Moyes must beg GSB to furnish his squad with more strikers, a back-up for Rice and perhaps a central defender too.
“With all due respect to Johnstone, he won’t the be the difference-maker next season.”
“Whilst Johnstone has been one of West Brom’s only shining lights in what has otherwise been a season to forget in the Premier League, it could be argued that it would be an error by West Ham if they were to sign him.
“Although Fabianski has made a few errors this season, he has proven over the years that he is more than capable of thriving at this level and thus it was hardly a shock when he signed a new deal with the club in March.
“Having played 277 games in this division, the shot-stopper knows exactly what it takes to compete against some of the world’s best players and thus Johnstone may find it difficult to usurp him if he does join West Ham.
“Instead of wasting funds on the Baggies keeper, West Ham should instead use the money made available to them to add some much-needed competition up front for Michail Antonio as doing so could allow them to reach new heights under the guidance of Moyes.”
“Sometimes there is a danger in signing goalkeepers that have looked exceptional in relegation battles, purely because they get so many opportunities to pull off saves. It’s a completely different game nearer the top of the table, where maintaining the concentration to make far less but far more crucial stops per match is paramount. Just look at Simon Mignolet and Jordan Pickford as examples of goalkeepers who thrived in survival bids but went onto struggle for bigger clubs.
“That being said, David Moyes will never leave his goalkeeper over-exposed and in that sense West Ham are the right level of club for Sam Johnstone to test himself at next. At the same time, Lukasz Fabianski isn’t getting any younger and with his save percentage over the last two seasons being worse than the two campaigns prior, it’s clear the Irons need to think about a change now before the the 36-year-old’s age really starts catching up with him.
“From Vladimir Coufal to Tomas Soucek, West Ham have made a number of wise acquisitions during the last few windows and with Johnstone topping the saves charts this term, this deal has all the makings of another shrewd Moyes signing.”