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Ismael must keep Sam Johnstone at West Brom

West Brom’s best hopes of promotion back to the Premier League rely on Valerien Ismael keeping hold of Sam Johnstone beyond the January transfer window.

The Baggies were relegated last season after a torrid campaign saw them collect just five wins in 38 games to finish in 19th place. It was expected that they would lose a host of first-team stars after relegation, with one of the names most expected to leave was goalkeeper Johnstone.

The Manchester United academy graduate impressed enough despite the team’s poor results to earn inclusion into the England squad for Euro 2020 alongside Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale. But despite making it to the final with his country in the summer’s tournament, a transfer never materialised for the 28-year-old and he remained at the Hawthorns.

Will Sam Johnstone leave WBA in January?

Yes

Yes

No

No

But with his form continuing to impress in the second tier, West Brom are in the hunt for an immediate return to the Premier League. They currently sit in third place in the Championship table, six points behind Bournemouth in the automatic promotion places with more than half of the season still to play.

As the January transfer window approaches, there have been fears that he could leave the club for a Premier League club mid-season and leave the Baggies struggling to replace him. If West Brom and Ismael are serious about their promotion chase, they need to stand firm and do everything they can to keep him at the club.

So far Johnstone has conceded just 15 goals in 20 appearances for the club so far this season, keeping nine clean sheets in the process – more than all but one goalkeeper. He currently concedes a goal per 120 mins, the best minutes per goal ratio of any stopper with ten or more appearances this season.

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Once described by Steve Bruce as a “diamond“, Johnstone has more than justified his £32.5k-per-week wages with stellar performances this season. Former Baggies striker Kevin Phillips lauded him as “fantastic” and believes he is integral to the club’s chances of promotion. It’s hard to disagree with him too, as in each of the last six seasons the team with the least goals conceded in the division has earned an automatic promotion place.

With arguably the best goalkeeper in the division, West Brom have a chance of making that seven out of seven if they can keep hold of Johnstone beyond the upcoming transfer window.

AND in other news, Masi reveals Ismael’s January transfer window plans.

Article title: Ismael must keep Sam Johnstone at West Brom

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