Sam Johnstone’s former Aston Villa teammate Gabby Agbonlahor believes a potential £11m bid by West Ham would be accepted by West Bromwich Albion for the 28-year-old goalkeeper this summer, in an interview with Football Insider.
Johnstone has been the subject of major interest in the past few months, with multiple top-flight clubs including Manchester United, West Ham and Arsenal all reported to be interested in the 28-year-old.
But with the West Brom goalkeeper making the 26-man England squad for their European Championships campaign after an injury to Burnley’s Nick Pope, clubs have waited until after the international tournament to make their move for the in-demand goalkeeper.
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The Manchester United academy graduate impressed for the Baggies in the Premier League last season despite their relegation and according to the Daily Mail, impressed England coaches during the Euros.
However, his current club are unable to hold out for an inflated transfer fee for him this summer, with the 28-year-old having just 12 months remaining on his contract in the West Midlands and with the side’s recently demotion, is unlikely to sign a new deal at The Hawthorns.
Speaking to Football Insider, former Villa forward Agbonlahor was asked whether he thought an £11m bid would be acceptable to West Brom’s board and said: “I think so.
“Sam Johnstone’s been a great goalkeeper for West Brom. The England squad will have helped him, confidence wise. When you play for your country it adds to your value.
“For me, it’s a no brainer for both clubs. Just get the deal done.
“He will have to fight for that number one jersey and that’s what you want. Lukasz Fabianski is a good goalkeeper but he’s not a standout number one where nobody can take that spot off him.
“Whoever shows the best form in training and keeps it up in matches will be the number one. But one mistake and you know someone’s creeping behind you. It definitely makes sense for West Ham.
“When I was called up to the England squad, playing with those elite players you become better overnight. You’re playing with a better standard of players than at your club and I’m sure it’s the same for the players now.”
The Hammers moved first in the race for Johnstone and launched a £6m bid nearly a fortnight ago, an offer that was rejected with the the goalkeeper’s current side previously reported to be holding out for £20m.
Considering the 28-year-old’s current contract situation, an £11m move would be a good deal for both parties.
West Ham would be getting a top-quality goalkeeper on a cut-price deal to challenge Lukasz Fabianski and the Championship club would then have the funds needed to potentially sign a replacement and invest in other areas of their squad.
With David Button currently Johnstone’s understudy at The Hawthorns, they may not even need to sign a replacement in the short-term but they can still utilise this money to improve key areas and give themselves the best possible chance of going straight back up next year.
Not accepting an eight-figure bid would be an amateur move by Valerien Ismael’s side, especially with interested clubs able to speak to Johnstone before next summer and potentially tie him down to a pre-contract agreement, leaving the Baggies penniless in the process.