West Bromwich Albion have been handed a major boost in their bid to keep Sam Johnstone at The Hawthorns this summer.
That’s according to a claim made by ExWHUemployee (via WBA Report), with the West Ham United insider stating that David Moyes’ side had opted to pursue a deal for Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Alphonse Areola ahead of the Albion shot-stopper.
It is reported that the Hammers had been locked in negotiations with West Brom regarding a deal for the England international, however, with the Premier League side reluctant to pay the £12m the Baggies were demanding for the 28-year-old, Moyes turned his focus back to Areola.
And, after West Ham completed their deal for the PSG ‘keeper on Thursday afternoon, the Irons’ pursuit of Johnstone now appears to be over.
With West Ham having always looked to be the most likely destination for Johnstone this summer, the fact that the club have now landed another target in the position would seem to have drastically increased West Brom’s chances of retaining their number one ahead of next season, something that is sure to have left Albion fans buzzing.
And, should the club go on to keep hold of the 28-year-old come the end of August, it would undoubtedly provide Valerien Ismael with a huge boost to his chances of securing an immediate return to the top flight next season, as, despite Albion’s struggles last time out, Johnstone proved himself as one of the club’s most influential players.
Indeed, over his 37 Premier League appearances last term, the £7.2m-rated man kept six clean sheets, made an average of 4.5 saves per game and stopped a total of a whopping 166 shots over the course of the season.
These returns saw the player Steve Bruce dubbed a “diamond” earn a highly impressive average SofaScore match rating of 7.03, ranking him as Albion’s second-best performer in the top flight of English football.
As such, with there currently not looking too many avenues out of West Bromwich for Johnstone, the £28k-per-week could well be set to remain at The Hawthorns next season, something that appeared an almost impossible scenario a couple of months ago.