Bruno Lage has barely had a chance to breathe since being hired as the new manager of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
He is faced with a busy transfer window as the Portuguese tries to lay his own blueprints down at Molineux.
Wolves could lose a number of their most consistent performers this summer, with Ruben Neves and Rui Patricio linked with exits. The goalkeeper has been touted with a move to Roma, but it’s thought that Lage is keen on keeping him in the Midlands.
However, if he does move on, a replacement will evidently be required. John Ruddy has penned a new one-year deal with the club but isn’t up to the standard of being first choice.
One option for Wolves is Danny Ward but, according to The Athletic, another name under consideration is West Brom stopper Sam Johnstone.
Patricio was undoubtedly one of Nuno Espirito Santo’s favourite players at Molineux. He became one of the Portuguese’s first signings when they came up from the Championship and he went on to miss just two league games in the space of three years.
The 33-year-old has been a consistent figure in English football but if Johnstone really is on Lage’s radar, they’d be foolish not to accept an offer from Roma for his services.
The Baggies ‘keeper was picked in the England squad for the European Championship, a fine reward for his remarkable form in 2020/21.
Described as a “diamond” by Steve Bruce, Johnstone was one of the most impressive and reliable figures between the sticks in the top flight last term. According to FB Ref, who provide data courtesy of Stats Bomb, no Premier League goalkeeper made more saves than Johnstone’s tally of 161 last season.
That’s indicative of the amount of defending Albion had to do, but his save percentage is also better than Patricio’s.
With that in mind, he’d be a small upgrade on what the Old Gold already have at their disposal. However, Johnstone is still only 28, meaning that as a goalkeeper he should still have the best years of his career ahead of him.
This would be a smart investment by the Wolves hierarchy.