West Brom transfer news: Baggies 'plan' to combat potential Hawthorns exit

West Bromwich Albion head coach Valerien Ismael

West Bromwich Albion will not rush to buy a new goalkeeper if Sam Johnstone seals a move during the January transfer window, according to Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield.

Johnstone has not featured in just one Championship fixture so far this season and has been the subject of interest from Premier League clubs for some time.

What's the latest news involving Johnstone?

It has been revealed that Southampton have joined West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur in the race to sign Johnstone.

The news comes after West Ham lodged a £10million bid for the 28-year-old shot-stopper during the summer transfer window, only for the offer to be turned down due to the Baggies seeking double that figure.

Instead of testing West Brom's resolve again, the east Londoners acquired Paris Saint-Germain's Alphonse Areola on a season-long loan deal which has the option of being made permanent.

Clubs have been circling since Albion's relegation from the Premier League last season and Valerien Ismael, who was appointed as the Hawthorns-based club's new head coach in June, admitted to expecting Johnstone to depart before the deadline passed at the end of August.

But, with him still on the Baggies' books, Ismael has confirmed West Brom have entered talks over a new deal as Johnstone's current agreement expires in less than 12 months.

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What has Luke Hatfield said about Johnstone's situation?

Hatfield believes Albion would not make signing a new goalkeeper a priority if Johnstone exits the Hawthorns in January.

Should Johnstone depart, Ismael would be left with just two goalkeepers - David Button and Alex Palmer - at his disposal.

Button has made five appearances for the Baggies, including in the season opener at Bournemouth, and Hatfield believes he would be given a prolonged opportunity between the sticks if Johnstone moves onto pastures new.

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The journalist told GIVEMESPORT: "If Johnstone were to go, I don't think they'd source an immediate replacement in January.

"I'm sure the plan would be to allow Button to take that starting role and have the youngsters play back-up."

Why is Johnstone being targeted by a number of Premier League clubs?

Johnstone offers top flight experience, having missed just one of West Brom's 38 Premier League fixtures last term.

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Who is this former West Brom player?

He has also been given an opportunity on the international stage and claimed an assist while making his third England appearance in the 5-0 World Cup qualifier win over Andorra earlier this month.

Clubs may feel a cut-price deal could be done as Johnstone's contract nears its end, with Ismael confirming last month that talks over a new deal will be lengthy.

Read More - January Transfer Window 2022: When does it open, when does it close and which players are going to move?

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