Carlton Palmer has offered his thoughts on Southampton’s interest in Sam Johnstone.
The former Saints midfielder has said that it would be a ‘no-brainer’ for the club to sign the goalkeeper from West Brom.
The Saints are reportedly interested in signing the England international and Palmer has claimed that the 28-year-old is worth the £15m asking price, although it is worth noting that The Athletic claimed the Baggies wanted £12m for him.
He told This is Futbol: “Yes, it’s a no-brainer. I think a lot of clubs will be interested in him on a free. I mean, I still don’t understand why he’s not gone.
“If it’s true that they were only asking for 15 million for him, I think at 15 million that’s good business. That’s cheap in today’s market.”
Martin Semmens must now ruthlessly axe £72k-per-week dud Fraser Forster in January to make way for the signing of Johnstone. The 33-year-old is out of contract next summer and currently playing second fiddle to Alex McCarthy at St Mary’s, which suggests that another goalkeeper coming in would make him the third choice.
This is why Semmens must cash in on the former Celtic man in the January window. It is the club’s final chance to recoup some money on him instead of losing him on a free transfer next summer, which is why he must be sold and replaced by Johnstone.
If the Saints can snap up the £12m-rated West Brom man in January, he could prove to be an upgrade on Alex McCarthy, who could then take up the backup position between the sticks, thus allowing Forster to move on. Last season in the Premier League, McCarthy conceded 8.1 more goals than he should have, based on Expected Goals Against metrics.
Johnstone, meanwhile, prevented 4.1 goals as he performed to a higher level than expected of the average goalkeeper whilst playing for West Brom, who were eventually relegated. This suggests that he is a better shot-stopper than McCarthy in the top flight, which is why Ralph Hasenhuttl needs him in his squad.
The Baggies ace could offer Southampton a more assured last line of defence, increasing their chances of picking up points in the Premier League. Therefore, Semmens must strike a deal for Johnstone in January and reorganise the club’s goalkeeping ranks.