In Focus: Leeds United unlikely to win the race for Sam Johnstone

According to reports in the Daily Mail, Leeds United have joined Aston Villa, Sunderland and a number of Premier League clubs in the race to sign £5m-rated out-of-favour Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone this summer.

What’s the word, then?

Well, despite only signing a new two-year deal with the Red Devils in October, United are ready to sell the 24-year-old stopper for around £5m before the start of next season as he is not in manager Jose Mourinho’s future plans.

Johnstone spent the second half of last term on loan at Villa, and he would have impressed any watching scouts with his performances.

With Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford on the verge of a £30m move to Everton, the Black Cats are looking for a new number one, but they could face competition from Leeds, Watford, Leicester City and Bristol City for the keeper’s signature.

How well did he do at Villa?

He did excellently, and it is no coincidence that Villa boss Steve Bruce wants to sign him on a permanent basis.

The former Preston North End man kept eight clean sheets and conceded 25 goals in 21 Championship games, which included a run of letting in just one goal in eight league matches.

His agility and distribution – he picked up an assist in the 2-0 win against Norwich City – mean that he is now a wanted man.

Do Leeds need a new goalkeeper?

They probably do, yes.

While Rob Green is a consistent performer and arguably one of the most best and most experienced keepers in the Championship, he is 37 years of age and the Yorkshire outfit may feel it’s time to find a replacement for the long-term.

Would they be willing to pay £5m?

While new owner Andrea Radrizzani will want to once again see Leeds fighting at the right end of the Championship table next season after they narrowly missed out on the play-off positions this, it remains to be seen whether the club will pay that much for a player.

If they want to show ambition and make a statement of intent they would, but having yet to appoint Garry Monk’s successor it’s difficult to know what their plans are just yet.

What’s the verdict, then?

Well, while Leeds would be an attractive proposition for Johnstone considering the size of the club, the price tag could be an issue and it seems more likely that he would move to Sunderland, re-join Villa or even move to a Premier League club instead.