West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is attracting a significant amount of interest ahead of the January transfer window.
That’s according to a report by the Express & Star, who claim that Valerien Ismael could be facing a battle to keep the 28-year-old at The Hawthorns this winter, as Premier League side Southampton are preparing a January offer for the England international – whose current contract at West Brom is set to expire next summer.
As a result of his contract situation, both Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United are also reported to be keeping a close eye on the situation of the shot-stopper, however, neither side are thought to be willing to make a move for Johnstone in January.
Meanwhile, Ismael himself has previously stated his confidence regarding the ‘keeper putting pen to paper on a new deal with the Championship promotion hopefuls, as well as claiming that the 28-year-old is “committed” to the Baggies.
Considering the West Brom manager’s apparent belief that Johnstone will indeed go on to sign a contract extension with the club, in addition to just how important the goalkeeper is within the Albion first team, should the Frenchman ultimately decide to cash in on the shot-stopper this January, it would undoubtedly be viewed as a huge mistake by many of The Hawthorns faithful, who would more than likely be furious with the 46-year-old for selling the ‘keeper.
Indeed, Johnstone has been in decent form over his 10 Championship appearances so far this season, with the £7.2m-rated man keeping four clean sheets, saving one penalty and making an average of 1.6 saves per game.
However, it was last season where Johnstone demonstrated his ability at the highest level of the domestic game, when, over his 37 Premier League appearances, the £28k-per-week goalkeeper kept six clean sheets and made an average of a whopping 4.5 saves per game.
These metrics saw the shot-stopper earn a highly impressive seasonal SofaScore match rating of 7.03, ranking him as the Baggies’ second-best performer in the top flight, despite the club’s ultimate relegation.
As such, it would certainly appear as if the sale of Johnstone midway through the current campaign would severely damage Albion’s chances of going on to secure an immediate return to the Premier League come next May. It would also be a decision that sees Ismael go back on his word regarding the goalkeeper’s future in West Bromwich.