Steve Madeley has dropped an update on the current situation of West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone.
In a recent article for The Athletic, Madeley revealed that the 28-year-old’s contract talks with the Baggies have made little to no progress over the past few months, meaning it looks almost certain that the England international will leave The Hawthorns on a free transfer when his current deal with the club expires at the end of the season.
However, the journalist does go on to state that the goalkeeper is not expected to leave the club in the January transfer window – despite the shot-stopper being linked with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Newcastle United and Rangers – as there is unlikely to be a Premier League side desperate enough to pay a sizeable fee for a player they could sign for nothing in a matter of months – something which Valerien Ismael recently discussed.
Speaking about Johnstone’s future, the Albion manager said: “You never know what can happen in football if a ‘keeper gets a big injury and a club needs to replace him, you never know what the situation could be. But at the moment it’s not the plan for Sam to leave us.”
Considering how integral a part of the West Brom side Johnstone has become since his £6.62m move from Manchester United back in 2018, the very real prospect of the 28-year-old leaving the club for nothing at the end of the current campaign is sure to have left The Hawthorns faithful outraged.
Indeed, over his 24 Championship outings so far this season, the £7.2m-rated goalkeeper has kept 11 clean sheets, as well as making an average of 1.4 saves and 1.7 successful runs out per game, with these returns seeing him average a SofaScore match rating of 6.82 – ranking the shot-stopper as Ismael’s 14th-best player in the second tier.
However, it was over £32.5k-per-week man’s 37 Premier League appearances last time out that the ‘keeper proved that he is very much good enough for the top flight, keeping six clean sheets and making an average of 4.5 saves per match, with these metrics seeing the shot-stopper earn a seasonal SofaScore match rating of 7.03 – ranking him as Albion’s second-best performer in the division.
As such, while Johnstone remaining at The Hawthorns beyond the end of the January transfer window will undoubtedly provide the club’s automatic promotion hopes with a significant boost, the subsequent loss of the goalkeeper on a free transfer this summer will certainly be an extremely hard pill to swallow for everyone involved with the club.