West Ham United have been given an encouraging boost in their bid to sign Sam Johnstone this summer…
According to Football Insider, the West Bromwich Albion shot-stopper has privately told friends that he wants an instant return to the Premier League with the east London outfit following the Baggies’ relegation last month.
A source told the website that the 28-year-old is said to be “very keen” on signing for the Irons in the upcoming transfer window and he remains a firm target for David Moyes.
Just a few weeks ago, The Sun‘s Alan Nixon claimed that the Midlands side would command around £20m to let their first-choice goalkeeper depart The Hawthorns, adding that the Scot would be willing to wait until his price tag drops to make a move, even if he’s seen as a long-term replacement for Lukasz Fabianski.
For the sake of a few million pounds, the club’s owners GSB should probably just pay up to land Moyes his man as they’ll be investing in a key position for several years.
At just 28, Johnstone has several more seasons at the very top of his game, and with injury problems continuing to plague the Poland international, it would be a very wise decision to find a long-term successor sooner rather than later.
That is something they do not currently have amongst the first team set-up, with Darren Randolph (34) and David Martin (35) being fellow veteran options.
Despite being relegated to the Championship with the worst defensive record in the English top flight this season, the Baggies stopper has been one of the few shining lights and perhaps one of the better options between the sticks.
As per the statistical website FBRef, Johnstone made the most saves in the division (161) by quite some margin and did so at a success rate of 70.6%, which was higher than Fabianski (69.4%) despite the Irons ‘keeper facing 65 fewer shots.
It’s no wonder that he has earned plenty of glowing acclaim from those around him and in the media, too.
Former Hammers boss Sam Allardyce suggested that the 6 foot 4 colossus was “one of the best [in the Premier League]” to talkSPORT back in December, whilst BT Sport pundit Glenn Hoddle claimed he had “been outstanding” every time he’s seen him play this season.
Furthermore, Steve Bruce believes Johnstone is an absolute “diamond” to work with on the training ground, so perhaps he could be the man to truly rival Fabianski for that number one spot next term. That may all boil down to whether or not the club can – or will – splash out that £20m, but they ought to do so.
On the above evidence, he would be a fine addition to Moyes’ current backline, where Angelo Ogbonna has excelled. He and Johnstone could be a rock-solid pairing heading into a Europa League campaign.
As former Irons striker Frank McAvennie recently told Football FanCast exclusively, the Albion star is “right up West Ham’s street,” so GSB must sanction a move for him this summer.
He wants it; Moyes wants it. Get it done, David Sullivan.