Paris St-Germain goalkeeper Alphonse Areola is currently undergoing a medical in London ahead of a season-long loan move to West Ham United according to Sky Sports News, potentially denying West Bromwich Albion’s Sam Johnstone a move to the London Stadium.
David Moyes’ side were in the market for a goalkeeper this summer to provide competition to 36-year-old Lukasz Fabianski next season – and had seemingly put Areola and Johnstone at the top of their target list.
Areola spent the 2020/21 campaign on loan at Fulham but despite impressing at Craven Cottage under Scott Parker, he was powerless to stop the west London side’s relegation as they finished 11 points behind 17th-place Burnley in the Premier League table.
Quiz: What was the score the last time West Brom played at each of these 24 stadiums?
Johnstone was also in a similar situation at The Hawthorns, with both West Brom and Fulham winning promotion back to the top flight during the 2019/20 season before failing to establish themselves as competitive Premier League sides last term.
The 28-year-old impressed along with Areola in the English top tier during the 2020/21 season though and with just one year left to go on his contract in the West Midlands, is likely to leave the second-tier side this summer after generating considering interest over the past few months.
According to a report from Sky Sports News two weeks ago, the Hammers had a £6m bid for the 28-year-old rejected and with this, they have now moved to secure Areola who looks set to stay in the English capital for the next 12 months.
They have an option to purchase the Frenchman at the end of this loan deal.
West Ham seemed like the perfect top-flight destination where Johnstone could maximise his playing minutes.
So privately, this is probably a major blow to the goalkeeper who impressed England coaches in the summer and was pushing to be Jordan Pickford’s understudy even before Dean Henderson pulled out with an injury.
Arsenal and Manchester United are the two other sides who were reported to be interested in him, but with Bernd Leno and David de Gea establishing themselves as first choice-stoppers at the two clubs, he’s unlikely to start every week in the top flight like he was able to at The Hawthorns.
Johnstone is too good to be sitting on the bench and it would be detrimental to his England chances with Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale as alternative options to Jordan Pickford and Dean Henderson for Gareth Southgate.
Because of this, he either needs to find a club where he can play every week or remain at West Brom for now.
As previously mentioned, he’s unlikely to sign a new contract and with Baggies officials probably keen to cash in on him in the next month to avoid losing him for free next summer, this could also be a blow to them.
But for West Ham, Areola’s loan deal was probably the cheapest option for them at this moment in time and they may decide to purchase him on a permanent deal if he does well next season.