West Brom have been struggling to register winning form in the last few weeks, failing to take three points from their last three games.
Valerien Ismael’s side were expected to return to the Premier League with ease, but Fulham and Bournemouth’s form has been undeniable, creating a significant gap of seven points between the two automatic qualifying spots and the Baggies.
One player who plays a crucial part in the team’s system, offering consistency and quality, is goalkeeper, Sam Johnstone.
The goalkeeper has been with West Brom since 2018, with 149 appearances and has gained the attention of many established Premier League clubs.
According to The Dialy Mail, Johnstone is a prime target for Tottenham Hotspur, with 35-year-old Hugo Lloris coming to the end of his contract this season.
The goalkeeper has not only received attention at club level, but was also called up to the England squad for Euro 2020. Despite not playing a game, the 28-year-old has remained part of Gareth Southgate’s plans and has gained three international caps this year, including squad appearances in World Cup 2022 qualifiers.
The £7.2m-rated titan is out of contract in the Summer and there has been a lot of talk on his future, including West Brom potentially cashing in on the keeper in January, which could be a huge mistake in the campaign for West Brom to gain promotion this season.
The West Brom boss had spoken out at the beginning of the season about the in-demand goalkeeper and his contract;
“He came back early from his holiday – which is a sign,” Ismael told. “I have spoken with him and the feeling is that Sam is happy to be back, for sure.
“We know the situation with him, but he’s given – completely – another feeling. You can see he is a big professional.”
As the side are currently struggling to make their impact on a title challenge and moving further back in the race for automatic promotion, it would not seem wise to cash in on the goalkeeper in January, but to hold down the player until, at least, the end of his contract, and re-explore opportunities to potentially keep hold of him should they be in a more attractive position in the league in the new year.
The cost of not being promoted back into the Premier League is far greater than the cost of losing, arguably, the best player at the club and Ismael should do whatever it takes to keep their greatest asset at the club until the summer, at the very least. After all, if he does go, it could prove disastrous at the Hawthorns.
Albion face Nottingham Forest on Friday and will be hoping to secure a crucial three points from the game at home.
In other news: Kipre drops a shocker against Blackpool