West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is “very keen” on joining West Ham this summer, according to Football Insider.
What’s the latest transfer news on Johnstone?
It was revealed last month that the Hammers were set to make an approach for the England shot-stopper ahead of the summer transfer window, and it seems that the 28-year-old would welcome the interest.
He has reportedly told his close friends that he would be “very keen” on moving to the east London club ahead of the 2021/22 season.
Have other clubs shown interest in Johnstone?
Manchester United were believed to be monitoring Johnstone, who previously came through the ranks at Old Trafford, at the start of May, as they eyed up a potential replacement for David de Gea.
However, the Red Devils now look to have turned their attention elsewhere, as they are on the brink of signing Aston Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton instead.
With this deal close to completion, it seems clear that United won’t be pursuing Johnstone anymore, which could leave West Ham in pole position to land their man.
What’s been said about Johnstone?
Back in March, Johnstone received his first call-up to the England squad following an injury to Jordan Pickford. This led to praise from former teammate Micah Richards, who claimed that Johnstone had been a shining light at West Brom this term despite the club dropping back down to the Championship.
Writing in The Daily Mail, Richards said: “Sam was a team-mate of mine at Aston Villa and one of the nicest guys you could wish to meet, a wonderful professional who got a proper grounding at Manchester United.
“Villa couldn’t afford to keep him back then but I always knew he’d establish himself somewhere. West Brom look like they are headed for relegation but their form cannot put a dampener on what Johnstone has done.”
Is Johnstone ready to establish himself at West Ham?
As Richards alluded to, Johnstone has been looking for a club to make his mark at throughout his career, having been regularly loaned out by United over the years.
He has spent the last three seasons at West Brom, but only one of those has come in the Premier League. With the Baggies suffering relegation, Johnstone, who stands at 6 foot 4, will now have to seek a move away to remain in the top-flight, and West Ham could be the perfect next destination for him.
The Irons’ current first-choice goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski turned 36 earlier this year, and is arguably a little past his best. Meanwhile, Johnstone appears to be at the top of his game, having made 161 saves in the Premier League in 2020/21 – more than any other goalkeeper in the division. This is the highest number of saves that he has ever made in a single campaign, and has earned him an average WhoScored rating of 6.74, making him the fourth-highest rated player at West Brom this year.
If West Ham are to impress domestically and in Europe next season, they will need players performing at their peaks, and that seems to be the level that Johnstone is operating at right now.
Should he get his move to the London Stadium, this could be the chance that Johnstone needs to prove that he has a long-term future in the Premier League.