West Bromwich Albion have been dealt a major blow in their bid to tie Sam Johnstone down to a new contract at The Hawthorns.
That’s according to Alan Nixon’s report for The Sun, with the journalist revealing that the Albion goalkeeper is putting talks regarding a new deal at the club on hold, in order to concentrate on securing promotion back to the Premier League.
The 28-year-old, whose current contract with the Championship side expires at the end of the season, has been attracting interest in recent weeks, with Southampton reported to be keen on a move for the England international.
However, Valerien Ismael had previously claimed he is calm about Johnstone’s situation, revealing he believed West Brom have a “good chance” of tying the shot-stopper down to a new deal.
With Ismael previously stating his belief that his side have a decent chance of retaining the services of Johnstone next summer, coupled with just how impressive the goalkeeper has been for the Baggies in recent seasons, the fact that the 28-year-old has now put his contract talks on hold is sure to have left the Frenchman fuming.
Indeed, despite the club’s relegation from the top flight last season, the £28k-per-week man highly impressed over his 37 Premier League appearances for Albion, keeping six clean sheets and making an average of an astonishing 4.5 saves per game.
The former Manchester United ‘keeper has also been in decent form over his five Championship appearances so far this season, keeping two clean sheets and making an average of 1.6 saves per fixture, seeing him average a SofaScore match rating of 6.78.
As such, it is evident that Johnstone is set to play a crucial role in Ismael’s push for promotion from the second tier this term, as well as potentially keeping West Brom in the top flight next season should they indeed go up this season – so losing the services of the 28-year-old next summer, particularly on a free transfer, would undoubtedly be a nightmare for the 45-year-old manager.