West Brom will be targeting promotion back into the Premier League at the first time of asking this term, under the watchful eye of Valerien Ismael.
The Baggies were relegated back into the Championship after just one season in the top-flight, in what was a disappointing campaign for the club’s supporters to witness.
But with Ismael now in the managerial hot-seat, West Brom are well-equipped to return to the promised land relatively swiftly, providing the newly-appointed boss can get his philosophies across to his current first-team squad.
One player who might not be with West Brom for too much longer is goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, with the shot-stopper being linked with a summer departure from The Hawthorns.
Johnstone has previously been a transfer target for West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur, and he has now emerged on Arsenal’s radar, as they look to add much-needed competition for Bernd Leno between the posts moving forwards, according to The Daily Star.
The Gunners had previously been targeting a move for Sheffield United’s Aaron Ramsdale, but are seemingly being put off by the Blades’ £25million valuation of the former AFC Bournemouth youngster.
Johnstone is evidently their next best alternative, with the England international catching the eye with some strong performances for West Brom in recent months, despite their relegation from the Premier League this term.
The shot-stopper kept six clean sheets in the 2020/21 season from his 37 appearances, and you couldn’t blame him for being tempted by a move to the Emirates Stadium ahead of the upcoming league campaign.
Johnstone’s strong performances haven’t gone unnoticed in recent months, with the goalkeeper earning his senior debut for the England national side.
He kept a clean sheet on his debut as well, as England beat Romania in a friendly match before they got their European Championships campaign underway.
Johnstone produced a stunning save from point-blank range to keep the Romanians out during the match, with Gary Lineker labelling the save as ‘sensational’.
West Brom have been heavily reliant on Johnstone in recent seasons, and the 28-year-old won them important points on his own at times.
He kept 14 clean sheets in their promotion-winning campaign in the 2019/20 season, and you would have to back him to replicate that in the 2021/22 campaign under the management of Valerien Ismael.
With David Button being their second-choice option between the posts during last year’s campaign, one would imagine that West Brom will be looking to find a better alternative to step into the starting XI in the near future.
But goalkeepers with the pedigree that Johnstone has are hard to find, and he’d certainly leave a sizeable void in the Baggies’ team if he was to depart. It will be a massive blow to the new manager if he does lose the England international.