This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Watford are reportedly set to make an opening offer for West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone as they look to win the race for him.
So would he be a good signing for Watford? And do they need him?
We quizzed our FLW writers…
Johnstone is a top goalkeeper and that’s underlined by the fact he’s heading to Euro 2020 as part of the England goalkeeping department.
Since leaving Manchester United, we’ve seen some real progress from the goalkeeper. He did well at Aston Villa, but his performances have gone up a level at West Brom to the point where he’s so in-demand this summer.
Last year, he was only rivalled by Matheus Pereira as West Brom’s best player in the Premier League, so you can see why Watford are desperate to get their hands on him.
Of course, he’s be a great signing for the Hornets back in the Premier League. I just question whether or not the club are going to be willing to pay what West Brom want for the goalkeeper.
His form over the last 12 months has been exceptional and the Baggies know they can demand a very good fee for Johnstone despite his contract situation.
Whether or not Watford offer a fee tempting enough, I’m not convinced.
This would be a really fine signing for Watford and you can see just why they’ll be looking to try and get him in.
Ben Foster is a decent goalkeeper and has been a great servant to the club but it makes real sense for the Hornets to be looking for a successor now and I think Johnstone is more than capable of taking over from him from next season if he arrives.
He’s shown this year that he is a Premier League level goalkeeper with his performances at West Brom and, in fairness, he kept them in games on more than one occasion where they should have been dead and buried.
Watford will need to be better than West Brom next season in several aspects but if they can sign arguably their main shining light for next year that will be a really good start.
Does The Hawthorns have a higher or lower capacity than these 18 grounds?
I definitely think that Watford should be in the market for a new stopper and I can’t think of many better than Johnstone who will be available.
Ben Foster obviously had the capabilities to be a regular in the Championship last season, but he lost his place to Daniel Bachmann after suffering an injury and he may never regain that starting spot as he’s now 38 years old.
Bachmann himself has done nothing wrong in-between the sticks for the Hornets but they’ll be looking for more top flight experience to keep them in games.
Despite suffering relegation with West Brom, Johnstone was one of the more impressive Baggies players and he was regularly tested – in fact, according to WhoScored, he made on average 4.4 saves per game – the most out of any goalkeeper in the Premier League.
It’ll cost a decent fee to prize him away from The Hawthorns, but he’d be worth every penny of the £20 million that it may take to sign him.