Hawthorns transfer news: 'The only way' Baggies can reach agreement with £7.2m star

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Journalist Luke Hatfield reckons that Sam Johnstone will only sign a new contract at West Brom if they offer him a pay rise.

The goalkeeper reportedly earns £30,000-per-week, making him one of Albion's highest-paid players, but he's out of contract next summer and therefore could leave on a free transfer.

What happened with Johnstone this summer?

Despite West Brom's relegation back to the Championship last season, Johnstone was in inspired form for most of the campaign and was rewarded by being named in Gareth Southgate's squad for the Euro's, even though he kept just six clean sheets all season.

On the other hand, Johnstone, valued at £7.2m by Transfermarkt, made the most saves in the Premier League as he was called into action 166 times, 20 more than any other goalkeeper.

Such was his form, both Arsenal and West Ham were keen on signing him, with less than 12 months left on his deal which meant he was available at a cut-price.

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ENTER GIVEAWAY

However, those two signed Aaron Ramsdale and Alfonso Areola respectively, which meant Johnstone stayed at the Hawthorns.

Dropping into the Championship hasn't affected his England chances, though. Johnstone has been named in both squads this season and started the recent victory over Andorra and even claimed an assist for Jack Grealish's goal.

West Brom could still lose Johnstone in January for a reduced fee or for nothing next summer, and Hatfield said the only way he will extend his stay with the Baggies is if they increase his wages.

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What did Hatfield say?

He told GIVEMESPORT: "The club are in talks with him. It was an unfortunate situation for Sam, dropping out of the Premier League.

"It's an interesting one for Sam because he could either play out his contract and get a free move in the summer or maybe re-sign with Albion if they go up, or he could commit his future to his club and protect his value and maybe get a little bit of a wage bump.

"That's the only way I can see him signing a new deal unless he's very happy at the club. He's still getting England call-ups as well."

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Where is Johnstone likely to end up?

Johnstone's next step could be decided by how West Brom fare this season. If they fail to get promoted, then he surely won't settle for another year in the Championship, especially with the World Cup now just 13 months away.

But if West Brom do let Johnstone run his contract down and they don't go up, they're running the risk of letting him leave for free.

So, for the Baggies to rule out the possibility of him departing for nothing, they either need to convince him to sign a deal in the coming months or to cash-in on him in January.

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