The uncertain future of West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is causing problems at The Hawthorns.
That’s according to Steve Madeley’s report for The Athletic, with the journalist claiming that the number of permutations regarding whether Johnstone stays or goes this summer is creating something of a headache for the Albion goalkeeping department.
Indeed, with it appearing unclear if Johnstone will still be in West Bromwich come September, the futures of David Button, Alex Palmer and Josh Griffiths are also up in the air, with the club not being able to plan exactly who will be their number one next season, or who they are be willing to loan out.
Madeley added that Valerien Ismael’s side are indeed keen to sanction the sale of the 28-year-old this summer, as they would like to secure a sizeable fee for a player whose contract is set to expire at the end of next season.
It is then reported that West Ham United are believed to have made an offer of around £6m for the England international, but despite initially setting an asking price of £20m for Johnstone at the start of the window, the Hammers’ bid was still well short of the £12m that it is now believed the Baggies would accept for the shot-stopper.
While it would be difficult to argue with West Brom sanctioning the £20m sale of a player with the ability of Johnstone – with it now appearing as if this asking price has quite significantly dropped and with the potential of it doing so even more – there is plenty of reason for West Brom fans to be worried about Madeley’s update on the situation of the goalkeeper.
Indeed, over his 37 Premier League appearances last season, the £7.2m-rated man kept six clean sheets, made an average of 4.5 saves per game and stopped a total of 166 shots over the course of the club’s campaign.
Considering just how impressive the 28-year-old was last time out, should the Baggies begin to get desperate as the transfer window nears its conclusion and start to consider the idea of sanctioning his departure for an amount around £10m, the argument could easily be made that it would actually be worthwhile holding onto the ‘keeper for the final year of his contract.
With Johnstone in the side, Albion’s chances of going on to secure an immediate return to the Premier League – and the windfall of cash this achievement would bring – appear significantly greater than what they would be without the England international between the sticks.
While losing the shot-stopper for nothing at the end of his contract would undoubtedly be a bitter pill to swallow for West Brom and their supporters, in the long run this outcome could well bring in a significantly greater amount of money than selling the £28k-per-week man for around £10m this summer.