Newcastle United have been linked with a move for West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone as Eddie Howe looks to add to his squad this month to boost his team’s Premier League survival chances.
According to talkSPORT presenter Alex Crook, Newcastle are amongst the clubs interested in the 28-year-old, alongside the likes of Southampton, West Ham and Tottenham.
He outlined: “Sam Johnstone very much wants to be part of England’s World Cup plans – I think he knows to achieve that he has to be back in the Premier League sooner rather than later.
Despite being relegated with the Baggies last season, a move away from The Hawthorns failed to materialise and Johnstone stayed put at the Midlands club. He has played in all but one of West Brom’s 24 Championship matches this term, conceding 16 goals and keeping 11 clean sheets in the process.
Valérien Ismaël’s side are fourth in the Championship table as they seek an instant return to the top flight, but even if Albion were to be promoted, it seems unlikely that the 28-year-old would remain at the club.
The Englishman is out of contract at the end of June, meaning he can now sign a pre-contract agreement with a new club ahead of joining them in the summer. However, it appears that Newcastle may look to seal a deal this month.
Johnstone has already had a taste of national team recognition, earning the first of his three England caps last June, and he will be keen to stake a claim for a place in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad with the tournament in Qatar set to take place in November and December.
With respect to West Brom, the 28-year-old’s claim for a place in the Three Lions squad would be heavily boosted by playing regularly for a Premier League outfit.
Newcastle’s goalkeeping situation is a strange one, with the Toon Army fielding all three of their goalkeepers in the Premier League so far this season.
Magpies fans would certainly like this tally to improve and the solution may be signing a new ‘keeper such as Johnstone, whose record in the current campaign is far better, albeit at Championship level.
One of the current options would certainly need to be moved on to make way for the Baggies ace, but it would appear that the 28-year-old could instantly be handed the number one spot should he opt to swap the Midlands for the northeast, given his track record compared to the three Newcastle ‘keepers. Therefore, the Toon Army could well be buzzing if the club can entice him to St James’ Park.